The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Wholesale Sales Up 0.8% in January

Gains recorded in all subsectors except motor vehicle and parts.

Wholesale sales in Canada rose 0.8 percent to C$50 billion (US$44.7 billion) in January, following a decline in December. Gains were recorded in all subsectors except motor vehicle and parts.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.4 percent in January.

Sales by Subsector
The largest sales increase was observed in the miscellaneous subsector, rising 3.1 percent to its highest level in seven months. The gain was led by the agricultural supplies industry (up 7.6 percent), which posted its largest monthly increase since May 2013. Gains were also recorded in the chemical (except agricultural) and allied product industry (up 3 percent) and the recyclable material industry (up 3.7 percent).

The second largest increase in dollar terms occurred in the personal and household goods subsector (up 2.3 percent) and more than offset the decline in December. All but one of the subsector's industries recorded gains.

Following two months of declines, sales in the building material and supplies subsector rose 1.6 percent on the strength of gains in all of its industries.

Sales increased 0.5 percent in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, with the food industry (up 0.3 percent) and the beverage industry (up 6.1 percent) contributing equally to the gain. This was the sixth increase in seven months for the subsector.

The lone subsector to decline in January was the motor vehicle and parts subsector (down 2.2 percent), which was down for the fourth time in five months. Lower sales were recorded in all of this subsector's industries, with the motor vehicle industry (down 2.1 percent) contributing the most to the decline. Lower imports, exports and manufacturing sales were also recorded for motor vehicles in January.

Sales by Province
Sales increased in five provinces in January, which together accounted for 46 percent of wholesale sales in Canada. Alberta and Saskatchewan accounted for most of the growth.

Following two monthly declines, sales in Alberta rose 3.2 percent in January. Gains were widespread across subsectors.

Sales rose in Saskatchewan (up 9.4 percent) for the fourth time in five months. The miscellaneous subsector was the main contributor to the increase.

Sales in Quebec rose 0.5 percent following two monthly declines, but the gain in January did not offset the decrease in December.

British Columbia (up 0.5 percent) recorded its ninth gain in 12 months, with sales rising to their highest level to date.

After reaching a record high in November 2013, sales in Ontario (down 0.2 percent) decreased for the second consecutive month. Lower sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector contributed to the decline.

Lower sales were also recorded in New Brunswick (down 1.3 percent), Nova Scotia (down 0.2 percent) and Prince Edward Island (down 0.6 percent). The food, beverage and tobacco subsector contributed to the decline in all three provinces.

Inventories
Inventories rose 1.4 percent to C$62.3 billion (US$55.7 billion) in January. Gains were recorded in five of seven subsectors, representing 88 percent of wholesale inventories.

The largest gains in dollar terms were in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (up 2.9 percent) and the personal and household goods subsector (up 2.1 percent).

Following four consecutive monthly declines, higher inventories were recorded in the motor vehicle and parts subsector (up 1.8 percent).

Inventories fell 2.4 percent in the miscellaneous subsector, the largest monthly decline since April 2012.

The inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.24 in December to 1.25 in January. 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.

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