Ottawa, Canada – Canadian wholesale trade rebounded slightly in July, driven by increased sales of motor vehicles and solid performance in the building materials sector.
Wholesale sales in Canada saw a 0.2% increase on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, reaching 81.33 billion Canadian dollars ($60.02 billion), according to data released by Statistics Canada on Thursday. This growth was somewhat lower than the agency’s initial estimate of a 1.4% increase for the month, following a significant 2.8% decline in wholesale transactions recorded in June.
In terms of volume, or price-adjusted terms, wholesale sales also rose by 0.2% in July.
Comparing the data to the same period a year ago, nominal wholesale sales were up by 1.1%.
Wholesalers represent the largest component of Canada’s services sector and act as intermediaries between farmers or manufacturers that produce goods and companies or public institutions that utilize them. Additionally, wholesalers import goods from other countries and distribute them within Canada.
While analyzing the impact of the wholesale sector, Statistics Canada reported that the month saw a strike by West Coast port workers, causing disruptions in supply chains. However, this strike only affected less than 5% of wholesale businesses at a national level.
Wholesale Sales Show Mixed Results in July
Despite a mixed performance across various sectors, the motor vehicle and vehicle parts industry experienced a third consecutive month of increased sales since the beginning of the year. Sales of building materials and supplies also saw a notable uptick, representing the first increase since March. These gains were partially driven by external factors such as wildfires in Canada’s Pacific northwest and a port strike in British Columbia, both of which contributed to higher lumber prices.
However, a majority of wholesale segments examined by the data agency reported lower sales for the month. The decline was led by farm, lawn and garden machinery and equipment, as well as computer and communications equipment and supplies.
The value of wholesale inventories experienced a modest increase of 0.4% in July, reaching C$128.36 billion.
When including sales by petroleum and other hydrocarbon merchants, which is the headline measure that Statistics Canada is transitioning to, wholesale sales for July registered a significant 5.3% increase to C$128 billion. Compared to the same period last year, these sales were up by an impressive 59.1%. Wholesale inventories on the same basis rose by 1.3% from June, amounting to C$147.28 billion.
Retail sales data for July will be released by Statistics Canada on September 22.