The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Wholesale Sales Down 0.3 percent in November

By volume, wholesale sales decrease 0.3 percent.

Canadian wholesale sales declined 0.3 percent to C$54 billion (US$43.6 billion) in November, according to Statistics Canada. Decreases were recorded in three of seven subsectors, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, and were partially offset by higher sales in the motor vehicle and parts subsector.

In volume terms, wholesale sales were down 0.3 percent.

Sales by Subsector

In November, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector recorded the largest decrease in dollar terms, with sales declining 2.8 percent to C$11.3 billion (US$9.1 billion), following three consecutive monthly gains. The construction, forestry, mining and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (-3.5 percent) and the farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment industry (-8.6 percent) were the largest contributors to the decrease. For both of these industries, the decline in November did not offset the gains recorded in the previous three months.

Sales decreased 1.7 percent to C$7.9 billion (US$6.3 billion) in the building material and supplies subsector, its first decline in 2014. All industries in the subsector posted declines, led by the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies industry (-3.6 percent).

The farm product subsector fell 7.3 percent to C$763 million (US$617.2 million), its second-highest level on record.

The motor vehicles and parts subsector rose 2.8 percent to C$9.5 billion (US$7.6 billion), partially offsetting the declines recorded in other subsectors. The motor vehicle industry (+2.7 percent) accounted for most of the gain in this subsector.

The food, beverage and tobacco subsector rose 0.5 percent to $10.3 billion (US$8.3 billion) as a result of higher sales in the beverage industry (+6.8 percent) and the food industry (+0.2 percent).

Sales increased 0.4 percent to $7.3 (US$5.9 billion) billion in the personal and household goods subsector. The toiletries, cosmetics and sundries industry (+6.9 percent) led the gain, posting its first increase in five months.

Sales by Province

In November, wholesale sales declined in three provinces, with Ontario leading the decrease.

Following seven consecutive monthly increases, sales in Ontario were down 1 percent to C$26.3 billion (US$21.2 billion). The building material and supplies subsector, and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector were the largest contributors to the decline.

Sales in Newfoundland and Labrador fell 9.3 percent to C$420 million (US$339.4 million), a second consecutive monthly decrease. The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector led the decline.

Quebec sales decreased 0.4 percent to C$9.8 billion (US$7.9 billion), a second consecutive monthly decrease. Lower sales in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector, and the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributed to the decline.

Saskatchewan recorded a fourth consecutive monthly increase as sales rose 3.5 percent to C$2.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) on the strength of gains in the miscellaneous subsector, and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector.

Inventories

Inventories edged up 0.1 percent in November to C$68.2 billion (US$55.1 billion), an 11th consecutive monthly increase. Gains were recorded in three of seven subsectors, representing 41 percent of wholesale inventories.

The building material and supplies subsector (+1.2 percent) recorded the largest gain in dollar terms, a ninth consecutive monthly increase. Inventories in the food, beverage and tobacco subsector (+1 percent) also rose for a ninth consecutive month in November.

Following three consecutive monthly increases, inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector declined 0.9 percent.

The inventory-to-sales ratio remained at 1.26 in November. 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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