Wholesale Services Price Index, second quarter 2018
The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) rose 0.6% in the second quarter. The gain in the WSPI was widespread, with motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories merchant wholesalers sector posting the lone decline.
The increase in the WSPI in the second quarter was led by building material and supplies merchant wholesalers (+2.2%). Margin gains were widespread across most industries in this subsector, with the exception of lumber, plywood and millwork merchant wholesalers.
Farm product merchant wholesalers (+9.1%) also contributed to the increase in the WSPI, mainly as a result of higher margins at oilseed and grain merchant wholesalers.
Margins for petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers rose 1.5% in the second quarter, following a 0.5% decrease in the first quarter.
To a lesser extent, machinery, equipment and supplies (+0.4%), miscellaneous (+0.6%), food, beverage, and tobacco (+0.4%) and personal and household goods (+0.4%) merchant wholesalers also contributed to the increase in the WSPI.
Moderating the quarterly increase in the WSPI was motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories merchant wholesalers (-1.9%), as margins declined across all the industries in this subsector.
The WSPI was up 0.5% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter in 2017, with six of the eight subsectors increasing. This was the 19th consecutive year-over-year advance.
Compared with the second quarter of 2017, the growth in the WSPI was mainly attributable to higher margins for machinery, equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers (+3.5%), led by computer, computer peripheral and pre-packaged software merchant wholesalers (+17.0%).
Margins at building material and supplies merchant wholesalers (+3.5%) also increased, primarily due to higher margins at metal service centres (+16.1%).
Miscellaneous merchant wholesalers (+3.2%) contributed to the year-over-year margin gain in the WSPI, as a result of higher margins for chemical (except agricultural) and allied product merchant wholesalers (+11.8%).
To a lesser extent, margins were also up for farm products (+3.7%), food, beverage and tobacco (+0.2%) and personal and household goods (+0.2%) merchant wholesalers.
The year-over-year margin increase in the WSPI was mainly offset by lower margins for petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (-12.6%). This was the first year-over-year margin decline for this subsector since the fourth quarter of 2016.
Margins at motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories merchant wholesalers (-0.6%) also declined.
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.
Infographic: The evolution of margins in the wholesale trade sector (2008–2017)
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