Sunday, May 24, 2009

March wholesale activity slips lower

Weak demand in the building materials, machinery and electronic equipment sectors pushed Canadian wholesale activity down by 0.6 per cent in March to $40.5 billion, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

In terms of volume, wholesale sales were down 1.3 per cent. A weaker Canadian dollar meant that wholesalers paid more for imported goods.

With the March decline, wholesale activity has now retreated in seven of the past eight months.

The building materials sector saw a sales drop of 3.1 per cent in March, with more than two-thirds of the decline stemming from metal products trade, which fell 9.8 per cent. Sales of the metal products trade group in March fell to a level not seen since June 2004.

In the machinery and electronic equipment sector, activity decreased 1.8 per cent.

The automotive products sector reported a 2.8 per cent increase in sales — the second consecutive month of higher activity. Sales of motor vehicles increased 3.3 per cent, while sales of motor vehicle parts and accessories rose 1.5 per cent.