The federal agency said growth was reported in five of the seven subsectors, representing 86 per cent of wholesale sales. The miscellaneous goods subsector, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the food, beverage and tobacco subsector led the growth for wholesale sales in August.
However, StatsCan also reported that manufacturing sales fell 2.0 per cent to $70.4 billion in August, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. There were lower sales in 17 of 21 industries, led by the petroleum and coal product (-3.9 per cent), chemical (-4.5 per cent), primary metal (-3.2 per cent), paper (-5.7 per cent) and wood product (-4.3 per cent) industries. Meanwhile, sales of beverage and tobacco products (+5.5 per cent) and food (+0.6 per cent) increased the most, it said.
Statistics Canada said wholesale sales increased in six provinces and one territory in August, with the largest gains seen in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. Combined, the sales of these three provinces represented 98 per cent of the national level growth.
“Inventories rose 1.5 per cent to $123.2 billion, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. Specifically, six of the seven subsectors reported increased inventories, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, and the building material and supplies subsector. Miscellaneous was the only subsector with a decline, albeit slight, of inventories,” it added.
“The inventory-to-sales ratio remained 1.52 in August. This ratio is a measure of the time (in months) required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current levels.”
The federal agency said manufacturing sales declined in seven provinces in August, led by Quebec and followed by Alberta and New Brunswick. Meanwhile, sales in Manitoba increased the most.
“Total inventory levels increased 1.3 per cent to $119.9 billion in August, on higher inventories in 16 of 21 industries, led by the aerospace product and parts (+5.0 per cent), computer and electronic product (+7.0 per cent) and beverage and tobacco (+6.8 per cent) industries. The gains were partly offset by a 2.5 per cent decline in inventories of petroleum and coal and a 3.5 per cent decrease in paper products. Total inventories (+37.5 per cent) and raw materials (+51.5 per cent) rose compared with the level in February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic—mainly on higher prices of materials as the increases were 9.6 per cent for total inventories and 13.7 per cent for raw materials in real terms during the same period.
“The inventory-to-sales ratio increased from 1.65 in July to 1.70 in August. This ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.”
(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)
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