Wholesale sales in Canada were down for the second time in three months in June. Sales were off in eight provinces, led by Alberta, says Statistics Canada.
“Following a 7.3 per cent gain in May, sales in Alberta fell 5.8 per cent to $6.9 billion in June, its second decline in seven months,” said the federal agency on Tuesday.
“Six of seven subsectors declined, led by the miscellaneous subsector (-16.5 per cent). The decline in June partly offset the 28.2 per cent gain in May for this subsector. Despite the decline in June, sales in the miscellaneous subsector were 6.1 per cent higher in the first six months of 2018 compared with the first six months of 2017. The machinery, equipment and supplies, and the food, beverage and tobacco subsectors also contributed to the decline in Alberta.”
On an annual basis, sales in the province rose by 5.3 per cent.
Across Canada, wholesale sales dropped by 0.8 per cent from May to $63.1 billion in June.
“Sales were down in five of seven subsectors, accounting for 71 per cent of total wholesale sales. … The motor vehicle and parts subsector reported the largest decline in dollar terms, down 1.9 per cent to $10.9 billion in June, mainly due to lower sales in the motor vehicle industry (-2.4 per cent). This marked the third consecutive decline for the motor vehicle and parts subsector,” said StatsCan.
“Sales in the miscellaneous subsector fell 2.2 per cent to $8.2 billion on lower sales in the agricultural supplies industry (-8.8 per cent). The declines in June did not offset the gains in May for both the industry and the subsector. In volume terms, the agricultural supplies industry decreased 8.5 per cent. In June, exports of fertilizer, pesticides and other chemical products declined 6.4 per cent.”
Sales in Saskatchewan (-1.4 per cent) and British Columbia (-0.4 per cent) decreased for the first time in four months, while sales in Newfoundland and Labrador (-3.9 per cent), and Prince Edward Island (-19.6 per cent) fell for the first time in three months.
On a year-over-year basis, wholesale sales throughout the country rose by 3.9 per cent.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.