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Wholesale Services Price Index, first quarter 2017

Released: 2017-08-18

The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) was up 2.3% in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter. This was the sixth consecutive quarterly gain. Of the eight subsectors, five were up and three were down.

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

The gain in the first quarter was led by petroleum and petroleum product merchant wholesalers (+31.5%), which registered the largest quarterly margin increase since the economic downturn of 2008. The increase coincided with the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in late November to limit crude production, which drove crude prices upward.

Also contributing to the increase were higher margins for building material and supplies merchant wholesalers (+3.5%). Margins were up for plumbing, heating and air-conditioning equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers (+6.2%), general-line building supplies merchant wholesalers (+10.0%) and metal service centres (+5.1%).

Margins were also up for personal and household goods (+1.9%), miscellaneous (+1.1%) and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (+0.1%) merchant wholesalers.

Moderating the increase in the WSPI in the first quarter were lower margins for food, beverage and tobacco (-1.4%), farm product (-7.5%) and machinery, equipment and supplies (-0.3%) merchant wholesalers.

Year-over-year change

The WSPI advanced 4.2% in the first quarter compared with the same quarter in 2016.

Petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers recorded the largest year-over-year margin gain (+15.4%), as margins increased in the third and fourth quarters.

Margins were also up for building material and supplies (+6.4%), food, beverage and tobacco (+4.5%) and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (+4.1%) merchant wholesalers.

Personal and household goods (+3.0%), machinery, equipment and supplies (+2.6%) and miscellaneous (+2.2%) merchant wholesalers also posted gains.

Farm products merchant wholesalers (-9.2%) recorded the single year-over-year decline.


  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 the 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.

A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics

To celebrate Canada 150, A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics, which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), was created to showcase the key milestones in the history of Canadian producer price statistics. This historical timeline contains answers to questions such as: Who collected Canada's first statistics? What do Canadian producer price indexes measure?

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

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; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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