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Wholesale Services Price Index, third quarter 2013

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Released: 2014-02-07

The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) increased 1.0% in the third quarter. Of the eight major wholesale sectors, margins were up in six and down in two.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Wholesale Services Price Index - Description and data table
Wholesale Services Price Index

Chart 1: Wholesale Services Price Index - Description and data table

Wholesalers of farm products (+12.8%) posted the largest margin advance in the third quarter. This was also the sector's largest margin growth rate since the first quarter of 2012, driven by gains for wholesalers of oilseeds and grains (+25.7%). According to The Commodity Tracker, a weekly publication from Export Development Canada, commodity prices for oilseeds and grains trended downward in the third quarter. The purchase price paid by wholesalers for these commodities declined at a faster rate than the selling price, causing the margins for these products to increase.

The third quarter advance of the WSPI was also attributable to margin increases by food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers (+2.2%) and wholesalers of petroleum products (+2.2%).

Miscellaneous wholesalers (+1.2%), wholesalers of personal and household goods (+0.8%) and building material and supplies wholesalers (+0.3%) also posted margin increases in the third quarter.

Conversely, the third quarter increase in the WSPI was moderated by lower margins by wholesalers of motor vehicles and parts (-1.2%) and wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies (-0.2%). This was the fourth consecutive quarterly margin decrease for wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies.

Year over year, the WSPI fell 0.8%, posting a third consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline. Lower margins were recorded in five of the eight wholesale sectors.

The year-over-year decline in the WSPI was mainly attributable to lower margins by wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies (-4.7%), wholesalers of motor vehicles and parts (-2.2%) and wholesalers of petroleum products (-1.3%). Year over year, the Canadian dollar continued to depreciate, falling 4.2% against the US dollar. Variations in exchange rates can have a strong influence on the WSPI given the high composition of imported machinery, equipment and supplies in the index.

Decreasing margins were also registered by wholesalers of miscellaneous products (-0.7%) and personal and household goods wholesalers (-0.3%).

The year-over-year decline in the WSPI was tempered by increases for wholesalers of farm products (+8.2%), food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers (+1.8%) and wholesalers of building material and supplies (+1.8%).

  Note to readers

The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) represents the change in the price of the wholesale service. The price of the wholesale service is defined as the margin price, which is the difference between the average purchase price and the average selling price of the wholesale product being priced. The WSPI is not a wholesale selling price index.

With each release, data for the previous quarter may have been revised. The series are also subject to an annual revision with the release of second quarter data of the following reference year. The indexes are not seasonally adjusted.

The Wholesale Services Prices Index for the fourth quarter of 2013 will be released in May.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca).

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