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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

May 14, 2024


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, March 2024 vs February 2024)

Nova Scotia wholesale trade decreased 1.0% to $1.35 billion. National wholesale trade decreased 1.1% to $118.7 billion in March. Four provinces reported an increase, led by Ontario.  Alberta reported the largest decline.

Year-over-year (seasonally adjusted, March 2024 vs March 2023)

Nova Scotia wholesale trade increased 7.8%. Canada's wholesale trade decreased 2.2%. Five provinces reported year over year increases in wholesale trade. Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest gains. Saskatchewan reported the largest decline. 

Year-to-date (January-March 2024 vs January-March 2023)

Nova Scotia wholesale trade increased 11.7% in the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period of 2023. Canada's wholesale trade increased 21.0%. Eight provinces reported year over year increases in wholesale trade. Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest gains. Saskatchewan reported the largest decline. 

The largest dollar contributions to Nova Scotia's wholesale trade came from food and beverage wholesalers and building materials wholesalers.  

The largest percentage gain in Nova Scotia's wholesale trade was for machinery, equipment. 



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

After the break in the data series with the inclusion of petroleum products in March 2023, wholesale inventories trended down as a share of sales, but there has been a recovery in recent months. The inventory-to-sales ratio was 1.20 in March 2024.

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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