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Wholesale activity could slow in the coming months

Wholesale activity could slow in the coming months

Posted on: 10/22/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​Wholesale activity is an excellent indicator of future retail conditions and the economy. The latest wholesale numbers confirm that Albertans and Alberta’s businesses are playing a significant role in helping with the province’s economic recovery, but this could slow in the months ahead.

In August, total sales of products to businesses, institutions and governments, reached just under $7.0 billion. Sales in August declined for the second time in three months, and the monthly total was nearly one per cent off July. Compared to 12 months earlier, sales are 4.5 per cent higher.

According to Statistics Canada, lower sales were reported in four of seven subsectors. Sales from food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers contributed the most to the decline over the course of the month. This subsector was down 5.3 per cent in August following a 5.3 per cent increase in July.

Since wholesalers sell to other businesses, institutions and governments, the small decline could mark weakness in the province’s retail sector. Even though retail sales continue to hover around record highs, sales from retailers are starting to fall which means we could see wholesale activity begin to decline in the coming months.

Wholesale Trade, graph

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