The Canadian wholesale trade sector experienced a significant rebound in May, following a period of weakness in previous months. This revival was driven by higher sales in machinery and equipment, miscellaneous goods, as well as motor vehicles and parts.
According to Statistics Canada, wholesale sales increased by 3.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis, reaching 83.57 billion Canadian dollars ($63.22 billion). This marks the largest monthly increase since November 2021 and reflects a recovery from the 1.4% decline in wholesale transactions recorded for April.
In terms of volume, or price-adjusted terms, wholesale sales rose by 3.3% in May.
Compared to the same period last year, nominal wholesale sales climbed by 3.8%.
Wholesalers play a crucial role in Canada’s services sector, acting as intermediaries between farmers or manufacturers that produce goods and companies or public institutions that utilize them. They also import goods from other countries and distribute them within Canada.
Out of the seven wholesale sectors tracked by Statistics Canada, four saw sales growth in May, representing slightly over half of the sector sales. The machinery, equipment, and supplies subsector experienced a 5.6% increase in sales for the month, while motor vehicle and parts sales increased by 7.1%. The miscellaneous subsector, led by agricultural supplies, saw an 8.8% growth in sales.
However, the value of wholesale inventories decreased by 0.2% in May, amounting to 129.04 billion Canadian dollars – the second decline this year.
If including sales by petroleum and other hydrocarbon merchants, as well as oilseed and grain, wholesale sales for May were up by 0.4% from the previous month, totaling 128.08 billion Canadian dollars. Inventories on this basis increased by 24.9%, reaching a total of 189.47 billion Canadian dollars.
In related news, Statistics Canada is scheduled to release retail sales data for May on Friday.