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Wholesale Services Price Index, fourth quarter 2016

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Released: 2017-05-18

The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) was up 1.3% in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter. This was the fifth consecutive quarterly gain. Of the eight subsectors, five were up and three were down in the fourth quarter.

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

The gain in the fourth quarter was led by petroleum and petroleum product merchant wholesalers (+17.9%). This increase coincided with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)'s decision in late-November to limit crude production, which drove crude prices upward.

Also contributing to the increase were higher margins for food, beverage and tobacco merchant wholesalers (+2.2%), as higher margins for other specialty-line food (+5.0%) and fish and seafood (+17.1%) merchant wholesalers more than offset the declines for general-line food merchant wholesalers (-5.3%).

To a lesser extent, margins for building material and supplies (+1.2%), miscellaneous (+0.6%) and machinery, equipment and supplies (+0.2%) merchant wholesalers were also up.

Moderating the increase in the WSPI in the fourth quarter were lower margins for farm product merchant wholesalers (-4.8%), as a result of decreasing margins for live animal (-12.4%) and oilseed and grain (-4.2%) merchant wholesalers.

Personal and household goods (-0.6%) and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (-0.2%) merchant wholesalers also posted declines.

Year-over-year change

The WSPI advanced 3.8% in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter in 2015. This was the 13th consecutive year-over-year increase.

Food, beverage and tobacco merchant wholesalers recorded the largest year-over-year margin gain (+9.9%), followed by miscellaneous merchant wholesalers (+7.9%).

Margins were also up for machinery, equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers (+5.0%), the seventh consecutive year-over-year increase.

Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (+4.8%), farm product (+4.2%), building material and supplies (+2.3%) and personal and household goods (+0.5%) merchant wholesalers also posted gains.

Petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (-11.6%) recorded the lone year-over-year decline, following a 20.0% decline the previous quarter.

  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.

Since the release of second quarter 2016 data, the WSPI was updated to increase its relevance. The WSPI update, which took effect in the first quarter of 2016, included the selection of a new sample for four of eight major wholesale subsectors, the adoption of the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and updates to WSPI basket weights for all wholesale subsectors.

The following wholesale subsectors were updated with new samples:

1. Petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (NAICS 412)

2. Food, beverage and tobacco merchant wholesalers (NAICS 413)

3. Personal and household goods merchant wholesalers (NAICS 414)

4. Miscellaneous merchant wholesalers (NAICS 418).

The WSPI series were also converted to 2013=100, with 2013 as the base year. The relative importance of the basket items was updated using the 2013 industry gross margins from Annual Wholesale Trade Survey (2445).

Two new CANSIM tables, 332-0029 (monthly) and 332-0030 (quarterly), based on 2013=100 and using new vectors, replaced CANSIM tables 332-0006 and 332-0008, which were archived since the release of second quarter 2016 data.

As a result of these updates, users should exercise caution when comparing index levels based on the new basket with index levels based on the old basket.

Infographic: Producer Price Indexes at a Glance

The infographic, "Producer Price Indexes at a Glance," which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), demonstrates how producer price indexes for goods and services are calculated and why they are important for the Canadian economy.

Contact information

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