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Wholesale trade ends 2017 well

Wholesale trade ends 2017 well

Posted on: 2/20/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​The most recent wholesale trade numbers confirm that Alberta’s retail sector is starting the year on solid footing. That’s because last December, total wholesale activity in the province reached $6.8 billion, the third monthly increase in four months. Since wholesalers sell products to governments, institutions and other businesses, tracking wholesale trade is a decent indicator of future retail conditions and of the economy in general.

Total wholesale sales were about one percentage point higher from November, but compared to the same month a year earlier, sales were up 10.5 per cent.

Over the course of 2017, the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector led the gains among all wholesale subsectors. After two consecutive annual declines, the recovery in Alberta’s oil patch helped boost sales in machinery, equipment and supplies category. Compared to 2016, sales grew 10.5 per cent to $79.3 billion last year. This gain in Alberta coincided with the increase in business investment and stability in oil prices as the province recovered from two years of economic contraction.

But it’s not just about the rebound in Alberta's energy sector that’s boosting wholesale trade totals. Sales activity in the majority of wholesale’s sub-sectors is up significantly from last year as well. This suggests Alberta's economy may be transitioning from recovery into an expansion phase.​

Wholesale trade, graph​ ​​

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