Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

Monthly Report on Canada's International Merchandise Trade Performance, March 2015

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Summary

Canada’s merchandise exports rose 0.4% in March, while merchandise imports increased 2.2%. Strong growth in automotive exports was counteracted by a decrease in energy exports and an unfavourable shift in the terms of trade as export prices declined and import prices increased. As a consequence, Canada’s merchandise trade deficit widened from $2.2 billion in February to a record $3.0 billion in March.

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports increased 0.4% in March as an increase in volumes of 1.9% was mostly offset by a 1.5% decline in export prices.

  • The largest decrease in March exports occurred in energy products, which fell by $676 million in March, and were down 43.7% from March 2014. Prices were down 7.0% and volumes 2.1%. Over half of the decline was due to refined oil exports (down $362 million, or 29.7%), but steep declines also occurred in the exports of natural gas and electricity. Exports of crude oil fell just 2.7% in March (down $117 million). Year-to-date, exports of energy are now 37.4% below the same period in 2014.
  • The strong rebound in automotive exports in March (up $692 million, or 11.7%) offset the declines in energy. Nearly all of these gains were due to passenger car exports, up 18.1%. Year-to-date, automotive exports were up 14.4%. Other products with export gains in March included metal ores and non-metallic minerals (up 7.4%), chemicals, plastics and rubber (up 5.3%) and forestry products (up 3.6%), while exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment declined 10.0% (down $218 million).
  • Both the automotive exports growth and the energy sector decline were centered on the U.S. market, and largely offset each other. The net effect was mildly negative as exports to the U.S. declined 0.9% in March. Meanwhile, exports to non-U.S. destinations rose 4.2%, led by exports to Japan (up $210 million) and Switzerland (up $108 million). Exports to Germany and the Netherlands also saw double-digit growth, while exports to China, South Korea, Hong Kong and France declined.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports rose 2.2% as a 0.6% increase in prices complemented a 1.5% increase in volumes.

  • Growth in imports was widespread, as seven out of eleven product categories saw an increase. The largest change was observed in consumer goods, where imports rose $727 million (up 7.9%). The only other notable import increase occurred in automotive products (up $280 million), while the sharpest drop in imports was in aircraft and other transportation equipment which fell 8.4% (down $147 million).
  • Imports from the U.S. fell by $506 million (down 1.7%) in March. The only other sizeable import source that declined was Mexico (down $132 million). Imports from China rose $902 million (up 28.1%), while imports from Japan increased $134 million (up 16.2%) and imports from France gained $76 million (up 19.2%). Compared with a year ago, imports from China, United Kingdom and France all increased by over 40%.  

Canada’s Merchandise Trade Balance

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit widened in March, reaching the record level of $3.0 billion from February`s $2.2 billion-level. Canada’s surplus with the U.S. widened to $2.2 billion, but the deficit with China more than doubled since March 2014, to $2.4 billion. The February deficit was revised upward from the initially reported $984 million; updates in export estimates of energy products were responsible.

 

Key Export Trade Statistics by Region – March 2015
Region$ billionsChange over previous monthChange over previous yearYTD 2015 $ billionsYTD change over previous year
United States31.429-0.9-5.795.537-2.6
EU3.3896.30.810.11411.6
China1.716-1.42.45.1322.7
Japan0.91229.90.62.557-3.9
Mexico0.6597.927.31.87215.0
Other4.3910.28.312.9637.6
All42.4970.4-3.1128.175-0.3
Key Import Trade Statistics by Region – March 2015
Region$ billionsChange over previous month (%)Change over previous year (%)YTD 2015 $ billionsYTD change over previous year (%)
United States29.252-1.72.589.3216.1
EU4.3285.812.112.4379.5
China4.11828.144.310.63124.3
Japan0.96316.235.52.61215.3
Mexico1.502-8.112.14.70115.5
Other5.3536.60.515.531-3.7
All45.5162.26.8135.2336.8
Key Trade Balance Statistics – March 2015
Activity$ billionsChange over previous monthChange over previous yearYTD 2015 $ billionsYTD change over previous year
Exports 42.4970.4-3.1128.175-0.3
Imports45.5162.26.8135.2336.8
Trade Balance-3.019$-2.215$1.249-7.058$1.915
Key Export Trade Statistics by Sector – March 2015
Sector$ billionsChange over previous month (%)Change over previous year (%)YTD 2015 $ billionsYTD change previous year (%)
Farm, fishing and intermediate food products2.650-0.75.48.03810.8
Energy products6.893-8.9-43.722.048-37.4
Metal ores and non-metallic minerals1.6997.423.44.88810.1
Metal and non-metallic mineral products4.962-0.15.415.01114.7
Basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products3.0255.34.88.8370.0
Forestry products and building and packaging materials3.3773.625.09.93214.7
Industrial machinery, equipment and parts2.674-0.510.98.02515.6
Electronic and electrical equipment and parts2.294-2.221.06.89420.6
Motor vehicles and parts6.60211.712.919.44214.4
Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts1.970-10.017.76.20234.3
Consumer goods5.3370.913.815.83913.6
Key Import Trade Statistics by Sector – March 2015
Sector$ billionsChange over previous month (%)Change over previous year (%)YTD 2015 $ billionsYTD change previous year (%)
Farm, fishing and intermediate food products1.3824.513.74.0219.8
Energy products2.6182.3-32.88.147-29.2
Metal ores and non-metallic minerals0.861-6.2-8.62.568-6.6
Metal and non-metallic mineral products4.133-2.19.912.61815.2
Basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products3.6903.40.411.0033.1
Forestry products and building and packaging materials2.0942.713.16.18011.7
Industrial machinery, equipment and parts4.6071.211.513.87712.1
Electronic and electrical equipment and parts5.279-0.612.015.90610.9
Motor vehicles and parts7.8583.710.923.38710.4
Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts1.596-8.423.34.90126.4
Consumer goods9.9807.915.728.38311.2
Key Trade Statistics Rates & Indices – March 2015
TypeCurrent monthPrevious monthSame month previous yearChange over previous month (%)Change over same month previous year (%)
Commodity Price IndexFootnote 1414.4427.8658.0-3.1-37.0
Can/Us Exchange Rate1.2621.2501.1111.013.6
Trade weighted exchange rateFootnote 299.399.6108.5-0.3-8.5
Terms of trade (2007=100)92.594.3100.2-1.9-7.7
Canada-U.S. Trade in Billions of DollarsFootnote 3
MonthExportsImports

March 2015

31.42929.252
February 201531.70729.758
January 201532.40130.312
December 201432.84830.589
November 201433.06729.860
October 201433.36230.507
September 201433.51830.033
August 201433.66429.563
July 201434.26629.307
June 201433.75229.058
May 201434.20229.080
April 201433.25428.546
March 201433.34528.526

Exports to the EU, China, Japan, Mexico and Others in Billions of DollarsFootnote 4
MonthExports to EUExports to China Exports to JapanExports to MexicoExports to Others
March 2015  3.389     1.716     0.912     0.659     4.391   
February 2015  3.188     1.740     0.702     0.611     4.385   
January 2015  3.538     1.676     0.943     0.603     4.187   
December 2014  3.695     1.680     0.882     0.610     4.241   
November 2014  3.101     1.526     0.821     0.781     4.323   
October 2014  3.920     1.680     1.001     0.488     4.055   
September 2014  3.735     1.751     0.982     0.527     4.292   
August 2014  3.537     1.843     0.907     0.549     4.163   
July 2014  3.745     1.807     1.002     0.563     4.184   
June 2014  3.659     1.770     0.973     0.562     4.323   
May 2014  3.358     1.765     0.908     0.580     4.200   
April 2014  2.683     1.797     0.958     0.562     3.982   
March 2014  3.363     1.676     0.907     0.517     4.056   

Exchange Rate Indices (CAN $ vs.)

Month

USDChinese RenminbiEURJapanese YenMexican Peso
March 2015           88.0           88.9               112.5                  103.6        101.7
February 2015           88.9           90.0               108.3                  103.1        100.5
January 2015           91.7           92.4               109.2                  105.9        102.1
December 2014           96.3           96.6               108.0                  112.3        106.0
November 2014           98.1           97.3               108.7                  111.5        101.3
October 2014           99.1           98.3               108.0                  104.6        101.2
September 2014        100.9        100.3               108.2                  105.9        101.2
August 2014        101.6        101.3               105.6                  102.3        101.2
July 2014        103.4        103.8               105.7                  102.9        101.9
June 2014        102.6        103.5               104.3                  102.3        101.0
May 2014        102.0        103.0               102.6                  101.4           99.9
April 2014        101.1        101.9               101.2                  101.2        100.1
March 2014        100.0        100.0               100.0                  100.0        100.0

Commodity Price IndicesFootnote 5
MonthTotalExcluding EnergyEnergyForestryAgriculture
March 201563.092.048.788.092.1
February 201565.093.151.593.490.5
January 201564.095.248.596.393.2
December 201472.497.359.796.498.4
November 201484.898.177.296.898.9
October 201489.797.685.097.896.9
September 201495.398.693.399.596.2
August 201496.9101.194.399.4100.1
July 2014100.4102.998.998.7103.0
June 2014102.7100.8104.094.6103.2
May 2014101.4101.0101.697.7101.5
April 2014101.2100.3101.896.9100.3
March 2014100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Bank of Canada commodity price index: a chain Fisher price index of the US dollar prices of 24 commodities produced in Canada and sold in world markets, with weights updated on an annual basis.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Canadian dollar effective exchange rate index: a Bank of Canada trade-weighted index which measures the value of the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the currencies of its most important trading partners. 

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

 The time series trade data do not include revisions to the historical figures.

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Footnote 4

The time series trade data do not include revisions to the historical figures.

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Footnote 5

Bank of Canada commodity price index, see previous page for details.

Return to footnote 5 referrer