Following three consecutive monthly declines, wholesale sales in Alberta increased 4.6 per cent to $6.7 billion in March, according to Statistics Canada.
“Sales were up in six of seven subsectors, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies (+5.9 per cent) and the miscellaneous (+8.4 per cent) subsectors,” said the federal agency on Thursday.
But on an annual basis, sales were down 0.3 per cent in the province.
Statistics Canada said wholesale sales across Canada rose for the fourth consecutive month, up 1.4 per cent to $64.1 billion in March. Higher sales were recorded in six subsectors, accounting for 82 per cent of total wholesale sales. The motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector was the lone one to decline. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales were up 2.2 per cent in March, added StatsCan.
“On a quarterly basis, wholesale sales increased 0.7 per cent in the first quarter, on the strength of higher sales in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector in February. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 1.0 per cent from February to March,” it said.
StatsCan said wholesale inventories increased for the seventh consecutive month, up 0.4 per cent to $90 billion in March as gains were recorded in four of seven subsectors, which together represented 73 per cent of total wholesale inventories.
“Inventories in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector increased for the second consecutive month, up 1.2 per cent to $26.3 billion, led by the construction, forestry, mining, and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry (+2.0 per cent),” it said.
“In the personal and household goods subsector, inventories rose for the fourth consecutive month, up 2.1 per cent to $15.4 billion in March. Higher inventories were recorded in three of six industries.”
The inventory-to-sales ratio decreased from 1.42 in February to 1.40 in March. This ratio is a measure of the time in months required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level, added the federal agency.
– Mario Toneguzzi