Canadian Manufacturing

Wholesale sales gain 0.5 per cent in August, Statistics Canada says

The increase, which was in line with economist expectations, was led by personal and household goods as well as motor vehicle and parts subsectors


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OTTAWA—Wholesale sales rose 0.5 per cent to $62.8 billion in August, Statistics Canada reported Oct. 23.

The agency said the increase was led by the personal and household goods and motor vehicle and parts subsectors.

Wholesale sales rose 0.4 per cent in volume terms for the month.

CIBC economist Nick Exarhos said the result was in line with the consensus estimate by economists, with volumes tracking a tick weaker.

“The general trend in wholesale has been smartly higher since the middle of 2016, after a two-year period of going nowhere,” Exarhos wrote in a note to clients.

The data point comes as the Bank of Canada prepares to make its latest pronouncement on interest rates this week and release its updated forecast for the economy in its fall monetary policy report.

The central bank is expected to keep its target for the overnight rate on hold at one per cent, but economists will scrutinize its outlook.

The economy started the year on a hot streak posting large gains through the first six months of 2017. The strength helped convince the Bank of Canada to raise its key interest rate twice this year, but growth is expected to be slower in the second half of the year.

Wholesale sales in August were up in four of the seven subsectors tracked that together represent 47 per cent of total wholesale sales.

The personal and household goods subsector rose 3.3 per cent to a record $9.0 billion, while the motor vehicle and parts subsector increased 2.0 per cent to $11.8 billion.

The building materials and supplies subsector fell 3.5 per cent to $8.7 billion.

Wholesale sales were up in five provinces, led by Ontario, Quebec and B.C.

Ontario gained 0.8 per cent to $32.1 billion, while Quebec increased 1.0 per cent to $11.3 billion.

British Columbia saw wholesale sales rise 0.7 per cent to $6.7 billion. Wholesale sales in Alberta fell 2.0 per cent.


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