Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 08:30

MNI DATA IMPACT: Canada Wholesale Sales +0.6%; Ex Autos +1.2%

By Yali N'Diaye

OTTAWA (MNI) - The following are the key points from the January data on the Canadian wholesale sales released Thursday by Statistics Canada:

- Total wholesale sales rose 0.6% in January to C$63.5 billion, the largest gain since October 2018. The monthly advance lifted the 12-month growth rate to 1.8% from 1.7%. December was unrevised at +0.3%.

- Details of the report were generally robust, with widespread gains across sectors and regions. Sales increased in five of 7 subsectors, representing 70% of total wholesale trade. Regionally, sales were up in 7 provinces, representing 90% of wholesale trade.

- Illustrating the strength of core sales, wholesale sales excluding autos and parts rebounded 1.2%, twice as much as the headline growth rate. Motor vehicles and parts fell 2.1% on the month, the largest decline since June 2018. On the upside, machinery and equipment sales increased 1.9%, owing to higher volumes, a positive sign for investment activity in Canada, especially after a disappointing fourth quarter. Personal and household goods were the other major positive contributor, boding well for the retail sales release Friday.

- Another encouraging sign was the fact that January's increase was driven by volumes, as real sales growth picked up to 0.7% from 0.2% the previous month, the largest monthly gain since May 2018. However, real sales were still down 0.5% year-over-year.

- Inventories were up 0.4%, increasing for the fifth consecutive month. The inventory-to-sales ratio remained unchanged at 1.43.

--MNI Ottawa Bureau; email:


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