Wholesale sales in Alberta dip slightly in October

There were sales of $6.8 billion in the province -- down 0.4 per cent from September but up 1.5 per cent from October 2018

Wholesale sales in Alberta dipped slightly in October but grew better year-over-year than the Canadian average.

Data released Thursday by Statistics Canada indicated there were sales of $6.8 billion in the province — down 0.4 per cent from September but up 1.5 per cent from October 2018.

Nationally, sales were down 1.1 per cent on a monthly basis to $64.2 billion but up by 1.2 per cent year-over-year. Across Canada, it was the second decrease in five months. 

“Wholesale inventories decreased 0.5 per cent to $91.6 billion in October, the third consecutive monthly decline. These three declines came after 11 consecutive monthly increases in inventories. From September 2018 to October 2019 inventories rose 6.3 per cent,” said StatsCan.

“The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector contributed the most to the decline as inventories in this subsector dropped 2.0 per cent to $26.8 billion, followed by the building material and supplies subsector (-1.2 per cent to $15.0 billion). This was the first decline for the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector since January 2019, whereas inventories declined for the fifth consecutive month in the building material and supplies subsector.”

The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.42 in September to 1.43 in October. The inventory-to-sales ratio is a measure of the time (in months) required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level, said the report.

Royce Mendes
CIBC Economics

Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics, said recent wholesale and manufacturing data for Canada were weaker “than what the street was expecting this week.”

“Attention will now turn to retail sales tomorrow, which could be a lone bright spot for October’s GDP print,” he wrote in a commentary note.

This week, StatsCan also reported that manufacturing sales in Canada declined 0.7 per cent to $57.1 billion in October, the second consecutive monthly decrease. Manufacturing sales in Alberta increased 1.6 per cent to $6.3 billion in October.

© Calgary’s Business


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