StatCan Sees Record Growth In Canada Wholesale Trade

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A wholesale warehouse. Pic: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA: Wholesale sales grew for the seventh consecutive month in November—up 0.7% to an all-time high of $67.4 billion.

Stastistics Canada said that five of seven subsectors reported stronger sales, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the building material and supplies subsector.

Notably, the increase reflects higher domestic sales of Canadian goods, as both imports and exports of key commodities fell in November.

November sales were 4.4% higher than the pre-pandemic level recorded in February 2020, with six of the seven subsectors’ sales higher than pre-COVID-19 levels. Additionally, all subsectors posted sales in November 2020 that were higher than in November 2019, as was the case for October 2020 compared with October 2019.

At $1.3 billion above February 2020 levels, sales in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector have surpassed preCOVID-19 levels by more than any other subsector, followed by the building material and supplies subsector at $1.1 billion above pre-COVID-19 levels.

The motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector remains the furthest behind, and the only subsector whose November sales were not higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Sales of machinery, equipment and supplies rose 2.8% to $14.3 billion. This was the fourth increase in the past six months, bringing total sales to their highest level on record. Three of the four industries in the subsector reported gains.

Higher sales in this subsector reflect greater domestic sales as exports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts fell 0.7% in November.

Sales of building material and supplies rose 1.1% to $10.2 billion, the sixth increase in the past seven months, reaching a record high in November.

The increase reflects primarily higher sales in the lumber, millwork, hardware and other building supplies industry, which makes up more than half of the subsector.

Sales of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and accessories fell 1.8% to $11.1 billion—
the first decline after six months of gains. Despite the decline, sales were 5.6% higher than in November of 2019.

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