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Canadian wholesale sales declined 0.5 percent to C$61.4 billion (US$48.8 billion) in June, according to Statistics Canada. Declines were recorded in five of seven subsectors, led by the food, beverage and tobacco subsector and the motor vehicle and parts subsector.
In volume terms, wholesale sales decreased 0.7 percent from May to June.
In the second quarter of 2017, current dollar wholesale sales increased 2.5 percent while constant dollar sales increased 1.7 percent. For both current and constant dollars, the increase in sales in this quarter was the fifth consecutive quarterly increase.
In dollar terms, the food, beverage and tobacco subsector reported the largest decline in June, as sales decreased 1 percent to C$11.9 billion (US$9.5 billion). This was mainly due to lower sales in the food industry, which decreased 1.1 percent and offset most of the 1.2 percent gain observed in May. For the subsector, June's decline was the first in five months.
Sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector dropped 1 percent to C$11.4 billion (US$9.1 billion) on weaker sales in the motor vehicle industry (-1.7 percent). The decline in June partially offset the gains in May for both the subsector (+1.3 percent) and the industry (+1.8 percent). Manufacturing sales of motor vehicles, as well as imports and exports of motor vehicles and parts, also declined in June.
The wholesalers in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector posted a 0.6 percent decrease in June, with sales at C$12.2 billion (US$9.7 billion). This was the second decline in nine months for the subsector. Higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry (+8 percent) were more than offset by lower sales in the other three industries, led by the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (-14.9 percent).
The farm product subsector (-5.7 percent to C$748 million (US$594.8 million)) also recorded a decline in June.
Sales in the building material and supplies subsector remained almost unchanged at C$8.5 billion (US$6.8 billion).
Sales in both the miscellaneous subsector (+0.3 percent to C$8.1 billion (US$6.4 billion)) and the personal and household goods subsector (+0.3 percent to C$8.5 billion (US$6.8 billion)) edged up in June.
In June, sales declined in six provinces with Alberta contributing the most to the decline, followed by Quebec and Manitoba.
Sales in Alberta fell 3.7 percent to C$6.5 billion (US$5.2 billion). This was the first decline in nine months for the province. While sales declined in all but one subsector, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributed the most to the decline as sales decreased 8 percent to C$2 billion (US$1.6 billion) in June, offsetting most of the gain in this subsector in May.
The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (-7.2 percent) was also the main contributor to the lower sales in Quebec, where sales decreased 0.9 percent to C$10.9 billion (US$8.7 billion) with four of seven subsectors reporting declines.
Manitoba saw its sales decline 5.9 percent to C$1.6 billion (US$1.3 billion) in June with six of seven subsectors reporting lower sales, led by the miscellaneous subsector (-14.7 percent).
Sales in Nova Scotia decreased 6.4 percent to C$869 million (US$691 million) on lower sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, which declined 18 percent to C$320 million (US$254.5 million).
In Saskatchewan (-1.7 percent to C$2.2 billion (US$1.8 billion)), sales declined for a second consecutive month, mainly as a result of lower sales in the miscellaneous subsector (-5.2 percent).
Following three consecutive increases, sales in Prince Edward Island decreased 1.5 percent in June to C$90 million (US$71.6 million).
The largest gain in June was reported in Ontario (+0.5 percent) as sales in this province increased for a seventh consecutive month, to C$31.7 billion (US$25.2 billion). Higher sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+4 percent to C$6.1 billion (US$4.9 billion)) and the miscellaneous subsector (+3.4 percent to C$4 billion (US$3.2 billion)) more than offset lower sales in all other subsectors.
New Brunswick posted its fifth consecutive monthly increase, as sales rose 7.8 percent to C$607 million (US$482.7 million).
While three of seven subsectors posted increases in June, sales in British Columbia grew 0.7 percent primarily on the strength of higher sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (+6.9 percent to C$887 million (US$705.3 million)). This was a second consecutive increase for the province.
Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador (+3 percent to C$438 million (US$348.3 million)) were up for the fourth time in five months.
Wholesale inventories rose 0.6 percent to C$79.6 billion (US$63.3 billion) in June, the tenth increase in eleven months. Four of seven subsectors recorded increases, representing 68 percent of total wholesale inventories.
Inventories in the personal and household goods subsector rose 3.2 percent to a record high C$14.2 billion (US$11.3 billion), the largest month-over-month increase of all subsectors. This was the sixth increase over the past seven months.
Inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+1.5 percent) recorded the second largest monthly increase, rising for a second time in three months.
The miscellaneous subsector (+0.5 percent) increased for a ninth consecutive month.
Inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+0.4 percent) recorded a fourth consecutive increase.
The building material and supplies subsector (-1.5 percent) declined for the first time in seven months. This was the largest month-over-month decline for the subsector since January 2016.
The motor vehicle and parts subsector (-1.2 percent) recorded a decrease in inventories for the second time in 2017. Despite the decline, inventories still remain up 11.2 percent year over year.
The inventory-to-sales ratio increased to 1.30 in June from 1.28 in May. This ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.