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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

November 15, 2023


Starting with the March 2023 reference month, petroleum products data are available within Statistics Canada's data on wholesale trade. This distorts year-over-year and year-to-date comparisons as well as the national inventory to sales ratio. The effect causes data for oil-producing regions to increase more rapidly than in other provinces.                                                                        

Monthly (seasonally adjusted, September 2023 vs August 2023)

Nova Scotia wholesale trade increased 3.6% to $1.40 billion. National wholesale trade increased 0.7% to $131.41 billion in September. Seven provinces reported an increase, led by Prince Edward Island.  Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Manitoba reported the only declines.

Year-over-year (seasonally adjusted, September 2023 vs September 2022)

Nova Scotia wholesale trade increased 28.9%. Canada's wholesale trade increased 60.7% with the recent inclusion of petroleum, oil seeds and grains in the data series. All provinces reported year over year increases in wholesale trade. Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest gains.  The gain in Ontario was the slowest.

Year-to-date (January-September 2023 vs January-September 2022)

Nova Scotia wholesale trade increased 9.9% in the first three quarters of the year - the second slowest gain among provinces, ahead of Prince Edward Island. Canada's wholesale trade increased 46.3% (including the recent addition of petroleum, oil seeds and grains). All provinces reported year to date increases. Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest year-to-date gains in wholesale trade.

The largest dollar contributions to Nova Scotia's to wholesale trade came from food and beverage wholesalers as well as building materials wholesalers, though both of these values were down year-to-date.  

The largest percentage gains in Nova Scotia's to wholesale trade were among motor vehicle and parts wholesalers. 


Over the past year, there has been high volatility in Nova Scotia's wholesale trade with several large declines and recoveries. Canada reported a very large increase as the data series was changed to include petroleum products.

Noting the break in the data series with the inclusion of petroleum products in March 2023, wholesale inventories have trended down as a share of sales in recent months, falling to 1.11 in September.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 20-10-0074-01 Wholesale trade, sales (x 1,000)Table 20-10-0076-01  Wholesale trade, inventories (x 1,000)

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