Canada's Wholesale Services Price Index rose 1.5% in Q4 2013, the largest gain in index since Q3 2008, mainly attributable to margin gains posted by farm product wholesalers: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA , May 9, 2014 (press release) – The Wholesale Services Price Index (WSPI) rose 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2013. This is the largest gain in the WSPI since the third quarter of 2008. Margin increases were registered by seven of the eight major wholesale sectors.

Chart 1 
Wholesale Services Price Index
Line chart – Chart 1: Wholesale Services Price Index, from first quarter 2009 to fourth quarter 2013

Chart description: Wholesale Services Price Index

CSV version of chart 1

The increase in the WSPI was mainly attributable to margin gains posted by farm product wholesalers (+9.4%). The increase in the farm product sector was partly due to advances by wholesalers of oilseed and grain (+13.4%), resulting from decreases in the purchase price, which drove up the margin.

Wholesalers of petroleum products (+9.0%) and food, beverage and tobacco products (+2.5%) also contributed significantly to the fourth quarter gain of the WSPI. The advance by the petroleum product sector was mainly attributable to higher margins for gasoline and natural gas products.

To a lesser extent, margin increases by wholesalers of motor vehicle and parts (+1.0%) and personal and household goods (+0.7%) helped push the WSPI up in the fourth quarter. Margins for wholesalers in the machinery, equipment and supplies (+0.3%) and the miscellaneous sectors (+0.3%) were also up.

Conversely, margins for wholesalers of building material and supplies decreased (-0.2%).

The WSPI advanced 0.9% in the fourth quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, the first year-over-year increase for 2013.

The year-over-year increase in the WSPI was primarily due to margin advances posted by the farm product sector (+24.5%), specifically by wholesalers of oilseed and grain products. Margin advances by the food, beverage and tobacco (+4.2%), the petroleum products (+2.7%) and the miscellaneous (+1.0%) sectors also contributed to the year-over-year increase.

The personal and household goods (+0.2%) and building material and supplies (+0.2%) sectors also posted gains.

The year-over-year advance of the WSPI was moderated by margin decreases for wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies (-3.6%) and motor vehicle and parts (-0.2%). This was the fourth consecutive quarter that machinery, equipment and supplies wholesalers posted a year-over-year decline. Variations in exchange rates can have a strong influence on the WSPI given the high composition of imported machinery and equipment in the index. Year over year, the Canadian dollar continued to depreciate, falling 5.6% against the US dollar.

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