Canada Wholesale Trade Up 1.5% In July – Exceeds Economists’ Forecasts

Canada’s wholesale trade rose 1.5% in July, marking for the largest increase in six months as gains were seen in a variety of sectors, including building materials and food, according to data from Statistics Canada.

The 1.5% increase in Canadian wholesale trade during July exceeded the forecasts of economists, whose consensus called for a decline in the month of 0.9%. The July increase was the biggest since January of this year. June’s wholesale trade figures were downwardly revised to show a decrease of 0.6% after an initial decline of 0.5% was reported.

Stripping out the effects of price adjustments, July wholesale trade volumes were even stronger, up 2.1% -- the largest gain since December 2016.

The surprise increase could bolster expectations for Canada’s July Gross Domestic Product and offset a decline in manufacturing sales that was reported by Statistics Canada earlier this week.

Wholesale trade rose in five out of seven sectors in July – accounting for 86% of total sales. The building material industry led the way with a 4.8% increase, helped by improved sales of lumber and other building supplies. Sales rose 2.4% in the food, beverage and tobacco sector, recovering from a decline in the previous month as all three of the category’s industries increased.

The motor vehicle and parts sector rose 1.4% in July on stronger sales of cars. Auto sales in Canada have been strong throughout this year and could put 2017 on track to hit a record volume of total sales, according to some analysts.