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Wholesale Services Price Index, fourth quarter 2018

Released: 2019-04-17

The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) fell 0.9% in the fourth quarter—the first quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2017. Margins were down in three of eight subsectors, while the remaining subsectors posted gains.

The decrease in the fourth quarter was driven by petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers subsector (-14.8%), as a result of lower crude prices in the fourth quarter.

Lower margins were recorded by miscellaneous merchants wholesalers (-3.8%) led by chemical (except agricultural) and allied product merchant wholesalers (-14.4%).

Farm products merchant wholesalers (-6.5%) also recorded decreases as a result of lower margins for oilseed and grain merchant wholesalers (-8.6%).

Moderating the quarterly decrease in the WSPI were machinery, equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers (+2.2%), with industrial machinery, equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers (+4.2%) contributing the most to the margin gain for this subsector.

Higher margins for food, beverage, and tobacco (+1.1%) and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (+1.5%) merchant wholesalers also contributed to the moderation of the quarterly decline in the WSPI.

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

Year-over-year change

The WSPI rose 0.4% in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter in 2017, as margins were up in four of eight subsectors. This was the 21st consecutive year-over-year increase.

Machinery, equipment and supplies (+4.2%), building material and supplies (+6.6%) and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (+4.9%) merchant wholesalers all contributed to the year-over-year increase in the WSPI.

The leading offsetting subsector to the year-over-year gain in the WSPI were petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers (-12.1%), followed by food, beverage and tobacco (-2.7%), miscellaneous (-3.0%) and farm product (-7.5%) merchant wholesalers.


  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)

The infographic, "Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) 2008 to 2017," which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), is now available. It demonstrates how margins in the Canadian wholesale trade sector have evolved from the first quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2017.

A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics

A Historical Timeline of Canadian Producer Price Statistics, which is part of the Prices Analytical Series (Catalogue number62F0014M), 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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