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Wholesale Trade Survey: September 2012 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  07 December 2012
Commentary

Sales figures are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated. There is no adjustment for changes in price level in this release.

September quarter wholesale sales down slightly

Total wholesale sales fell 0.3 percent ($67 million) during the September 2012 quarter.

Graph, change in wholesale trade seasonally adjusted sales, quarterly, September 2004 to September 2012.

Industries with lower sales were:

  • basic materials wholesaling – down 3.0 percent ($141 million)
  • other goods wholesaling – down 2.4 percent ($80 million).
The basic materials wholesaling industry covers businesses selling agricultural supplies, products, and raw materials. The other goods wholesaling industry includes businesses selling pharmaceutical products, furniture, kitchenware, and personal goods (eg clothing and toiletries).

Industries with higher sales were:

  • motor vehicle and motor-vehicle parts wholesaling – up 5.5 percent ($88 million), after a 3.4 percent fall during the June 2012 quarter
  • grocery, liquor, and tobacco product wholesaling – up 0.6 percent ($41 million)
  • commission-based wholesaling – up 5.3 percent ($22 million)
  • machinery and equipment wholesaling – up 0.1 percent ($5 million).

Total sales trend remains flat

The trend for total wholesale sales has been flat since mid-2011, after a period of strong increases that started in late 2009.

Graph, wholesale trade total sales, quarterly, September 2004 to September 2012.

Trends in industry sales

Basic materials wholesaling trend rose strongly throughout 2010 and the first half of 2011. It flattened after that and in the latest two quarters the trend appears to be declining.

Machinery and equipment wholesaling trend has risen in the last three quarters. The trend has been growing since the December 2009 quarter, apart from a trough during the second half of 2011.

Motor vehicle and motor-vehicle parts wholesaling trend has risen in each of the latest four quarters, following a decline during the three previous quarters. The trend is currently at its highest level in four years.

Grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling trend has generally been rising since the March 2009 quarter. However, it has flattened in recent quarters.

Other goods wholesaling trend has generally been declining since late 2010.

Commission-based wholesaling trend has generally been rising since September 2009. In the latest quarters, the rate of increase appears to have picked up.

Trend estimates, particularly for the latest quarters, may be revised as new quarters are added to the series. 

Stock value continues to rise

Stock figures are unadjusted unless otherwise specified.

The total value of wholesale trade stocks at 30 September 2012 quarter was up 3.6 percent ($318 million) from a year earlier.

Graph, wholesale trade total stocks, quarterly, September 2004 to September 2012.

The only industry with lower stocks than at 30 September 2011 was basic materials wholesaling, which was down 1.8 percent ($33 million).

The rises in stocks were as follows:  

  • grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling – up 10 percent ($129 million)
  • machinery and equipment wholesaling – up 3.5 percent ($87 million)
  • other goods wholesaling – up 3.7 percent ($70 million)
  • motor vehicle and motor-vehicle parts wholesaling – up 5.0 percent ($62 million)
  • commission-based wholesaling – up 5.8 percent ($3 million).

When adjusted for seasonal effects, total wholesale trade stocks were $9.0 billion at 30 September 2012, up 0.8 percent ($68 million) from 30 June 2012.

The trend for total wholesale trade stocks has generally been rising since the December 2009 quarter.

See the 'Downloads' box for more detailed data.

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