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Canadian wholesalers generated sales of C$674 billion (US$512.7 billion) in 2016, up 3.1 percent compared with 2015, according to Statistics Canada. This was the seventh consecutive annual increase.
The increase was partially attributable to higher prices as sales in volume terms were up by 2.2 percent.
Except for energy-driven provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the Prairies), all provinces experienced growth
Wholesale sales in Canada increased 0.7 percent to C$57.3 billion (US$435.8 billion) in December. Gains were recorded in six subsectors, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector reported the largest gain in dollar terms in December, increasing 2.5% to C$11.6 (US$8.8 billion.)
In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 0.9 percent.
Sales rose in six of seven subsectors, representing 82 percent of total wholesale sales.
The building material and supplies subsector, sales rose 1.4 percent to C$8 billion (US$6.01 billion), a third consecutive monthly gain. All three industries in the subsector increased, led by the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry, up 1.4 percent to C$4.1 billion (US$3.1 billion), a third consecutive increase.
Sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector dropped 2.1 percent to C$10.3 billion (US$7.8 billion) on weaker sales in the motor vehicle industry which were down 4.5 percent. Sales in the industry have now declined for two consecutive months and have reached their lowest level since November 2015. Imports and exports of motor vehicle and parts were also down in December.
In the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, sales increased 0.9 percent to a record C$11.2 billion (US$8.5 billion) in December. Increases were recorded in all industries within the subsector, with the food industry contributing the most to the gain with an increase of 0.9 percent.
Sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector rose 2.5 percent to C$11.6 billion. (US$8.2 billion).
The personal and household goods subsector rose 0.9 percent to C$8.2 billion (US$6.2 billion), on the strength of gains in half of the industries in the subsector. A 1.4 percent increase in the pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry led the gains, and mostly offset the industry's 1.6 percent decline in November.
Sales increased in six provinces, with Quebec contributing the most to the gain.
Quebec increased 2.9 percent to a record C$10.8 billion (US$8.2 billion), primarily on higher sales in the building material and supplies subsector and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector.
Sales in Ontario were down 0.2 percent to C$28.7 billion (US$21.8 billion), a second consecutive decrease. The decline was led by the motor vehicle and parts subsector, offsetting gains in other subsectors.
The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector contributed to the higher sales in British Columbia, which increased for a third consecutive month, up 1.4 percent to a record C$5.9 billion (US$4.5 billion) in December.
Sales in Nova Scotia increased 1.3 percent and Prince Edward Island saw a gain of 8.4 percent that partially offset declines in November.
Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador fell 25.2 percent to C$399 million (US$303 million) in December, offsetting most of the 39.9 percent increase in November that brought the province to its highest sales level on record. Declines were widespread across subsectors, with the miscellaneous subsector the largest contributor to the drop.
In Ontario, sales were down 0.2 percent to C$28.7 billion (US$21.8 billion). The decline was led by the motor vehicle and parts subsector, offsetting gains in other subsectors.
Sales in Manitoba were down 0.5 percent and New Brunswick reported declines of 1.2 percent in December, each with lower sales in four subsectors.
Wholesale inventories rose 1.1 percent to C$74.3 billion (US$56.5 billion) in December, a fifth consecutive increase.
Inventories in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+2.5 percent) reported the largest increase in dollar terms, reaching their highest level on record in December.
In the miscellaneous subsector (+1.7 percent), inventories rose for the third time in ten months.
The food, beverage and tobacco subsector posted its ninth consecutive advance, with inventories up 1.8 percent to their highest level on record.
Inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+0.6 percent) increased for the fifth consecutive month.
Higher inventories were reported by the personal and household goods subsector (+0.6 percent) and the building material and supplies subsector (+0.2 percent).
The inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.29 in November to 1.30 in December. This ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.