Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Wholesale trade declined 0.9% in the March quarter — making all components of the first quarter’s GDP that Statistics SA has reported so far negative.

Thursday’s report of a quarterly decline in wholesale trade followed Wednesday’s report that retail sales declined 1.3% in the first quarter of 2018.

Stats SA recently reported manufacturing output declined 1.7% and mining output declined 2.5% during the first quarter.

At current prices, South African wholesalers sold a total of R170.5bn in March, up from R158bn in February and R165.8bn in March 2017. Stats SA uses constant prices set to 2015 to strip out inflation, which reduced March’s total to R149bn, which was 0.7% lower than R150bn in the same month in 2017.

The wholesale industry is split into 10 sectors by Stats SA’s monthly report.

The biggest decline was suffered by metal dealers, whose annual sales fell 12.5% to R4.3bn in March in current prices. Farmers suffered the next biggest drop with their wholesale takings falling 11.6% to R11.5bn in current prices.

The biggest growth in the wholesale industry was jewellery with sales jumping 74.9% to R5.9bn.