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Canadian wholesale sales increased 1.8 percent to C$54 billion (US$47.9 billion) in September. While higher sales were recorded in six of the seven subsectors, accounting for 83 percent of total wholesale sales, the increase was led by the building material and supplies subsector (+5.5 percent).
In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 1.8 percent.
The building material and supplies subsector recorded the largest gain in September, rising 5.5 percent to C$8.1 billion (US$7.2 billion). This was largely attributable to the strength of gains in the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry (+11.5 percent), which posted a seventh consecutive increase. The subsector has been on an upward trend since January 2014.
Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 2.2 percent to C$11.6 billion (US$10.3 billion), on the strength of the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (+10.2 percent) and the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry (+3.9 percent).
The personal and household goods subsector rose 1.8 percent to C$7.4 billion (US$6.6 billion. This subsector saw gains in five of six industries.
Sales in the miscellaneous subsector rose 1.8 percent to C$6.8 billion (US$6 billion). The agricultural supplies industry (+3.9 percent) and the other miscellaneous industry (+2.3 percent) accounted for over half of the gains. The other miscellaneous industry includes wholesalers of goods such as logs, wood chips, minerals, ores and precious metals.
The food, beverage and tobacco subsector increased 1.1 percent to C$10.4 billion (US$9.2 billion), primarily as a result of gains in the food industry (+0.9 percent), which accounted for over 90 percent of sales in this subsector.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector (-1.1 percent) posted the lone decline in September. The decrease in the motor vehicle industry (-3.8 percent) was largely offset by higher sales in the new motor vehicle parts and accessories industry (+7.2 percent).
In September, sales increased in eight provinces, led by Ontario (+1.5 percent) and Quebec (+3.7 percent).
Sales rose 1.5 percent to C$26.4 billion (US$23.4 billion) in Ontario, a sixth consecutive increase, with the building material and supplies subsector and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributing the most to the increase.
In dollar terms, Quebec was the second largest contributor to the increase in September, rising 3.7 percent to C$9.9 billion (US$8.8 billion). This was the fourth increase in five months. Gains were recorded in most subsectors, led by the building material and supplies subsector.
Sales in Saskatchewan increased for the fourth time in five months, rising 4.7 percent to C$2.1 billion (US$1.9 billion). The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the miscellaneous subsector led the gains.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, sales increased 12.4 percent to C$496 million (US$439.8 million). This was the third increase in four months for the province.
Sales in British Columbia (+1.1 percent) increased for the first time in four months, led by gains in the building material and supplies subsector.
New Brunswick (+1.7 percent) and Prince Edward Island (+5.7 percent) both recorded their first increase in three months. Sales were down in Manitoba (-1.4 percent) and Nova Scotia (-0.7 percent).
Inventories increased for a ninth consecutive month, rising 0.5 percent to C$67.1 billion (US$59.5 billion) in September, the highest level on record. Four of the seven subsectors recorded gains, representing 54 percent of wholesale inventories.
In dollar terms, the largest gain was in the miscellaneous subsector (+2.0 percent), an eighth consecutive increase, led by the agricultural supplies industry (+4.0 percent). Inventories rose for the third time in four months in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+1.2 percent), while inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector were up 1.7 percent, a seventh consecutive monthly increase.
The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.26 in August to 1.24 in September. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.