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Wholesale Services Price Index, third quarter 2015

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Released: 2016-02-16

The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) edged down 0.2% in the third quarter. Five of the eight major sectors recorded margin declines, while three showed increases.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Wholesale Services Price Index
Wholesale Services Price Index

Petroleum and petroleum products wholesalers (-5.3%) posted the largest decrease, as declines in selling prices outpaced those in purchase prices. Lower margins were observed for crude oil, natural gas and diesel.

The second biggest contributors to the overall decrease were machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers (-0.7%), because of their high relative importance in the index. The quarterly decline was attributable to decreases in September, as margins fell in July but fully recovered in August.

Margins also fell for building material and supplies (-0.1%), motor vehicle and parts (-0.1%) and miscellaneous wholesalers (-0.3%).

Moderating the decrease in the WSPI were margin gains reported by food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers (+1.8%). Margins grew for fish and seafood products (+10.2%), red meat and meat products (+4.9%) and other specialty-line food (+4.6%) wholesalers. Restricted supply due to a colder winter and spring in Maine in 2015, combined with higher global demand, drove up the prices and margins of lobsters.

Margin increases from personal and household goods (+0.3%) and farm product wholesalers (+0.7%) also moderated the decrease.

Year-over-year change

Year over year, the WSPI advanced 1.7% in the third quarter, its eight consecutive increase.

The food, beverage and tobacco wholesalers sector (+8.3%) contributed the most to the gain. Fish and seafood (+60.6%) and other specialty-line food (+22.6%) wholesalers posted increases as gains in selling prices outpaced those in purchase prices.

Higher margins were also recorded for petroleum and petroleum products (+5.6%) and building material and supplies wholesalers (+3.0%).

In contrast, year-over-year margin declines were recorded for farm products (-5.3%), motor vehicle and parts (-2.2%) and miscellaneous wholesalers (-1.2%).

  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. Data are available at the Canada level only. Starting with the fourth quarter of 2014, the WSPI program changed its data collection mode from a paper questionnaire to an online electronic questionnaire.

Next release

The WSPI for the fourth quarter of 2015 will be released in May 2016.

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; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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