News

Statistics Canada says wholesale sales falls 1.2 per cent in September

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada said Monday the value of wholesale sales fell 1.2 per cent in September to $56.0 billion.

Economists had expected a gain of 0.4 per cent from the previous month, according to Thomson Reuters.

CIBC economist Nick Exarhos noted that the softness was reflected in the volume of wholesale sales, which fell 1.5 per cent.

“We’re hopeful that strong retail figures tomorrow make up for some of the lost ground, but it looks like September will be a lacklustre month for output,” Exarhos wrote in a note to clients.

“After some strong months, today’s release won’t change our third-quarter forecast much. But it will mean that the fourth quarter, which is likely the decisive quarter for the Bank of Canada on whether to ease (rates) or not, will get a weak hand-off.”

The drop in wholesale sales follows increases in four of the previous five months.

Statistics Canada said wholesale sales fell in five of the seven subsectors it tracks, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies and the miscellaneous subsectors.

The machinery, equipment and supplies subsector posted the largest drop in dollar terms for the month as it fell 4.0 per cent to $10.9 billion, its lowest level since April. The miscellaneous subsector fell 3.1 per cent to $7.0 billion.

Wholesale sales in volume terms fell 1.5 per cent in September.

The results come ahead of retail sales data for September on Tuesday morning and third-quarter growth figures on Nov. 30.

Economists expect the third quarter to show strong growth after the economy pulled back in the second quarter. However, how much of that momentum will carry over into the final three months of the year is unknown.

The weak wholesale sales data follows a report last week that manufacturing sales rose 0.3 per cent to $51.5 billion in September, however sales in constant dollar terms sales slipped 0.2 per cent, indicating a lower volume of goods sold.