Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

Monthly Report on Canada's International Merchandise Trade Performance, January 2017

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Canada’s exports reached a record high in January and Canada’s trade balance with the world recorded a third consecutive monthly surplus.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the world improved to $807 million in January, up from $447 million in December. 

Exports

  • Exports were up 0.5% in January, to $46.5 billion, with exports to the United States increasing 2.3%.
    • The increase was led by motor vehicles and canola.
    • Exports were up to the United States, but declined to countries other than the U.S.

Imports

  • Imports edged down 0.3% in January, to $45.6 billion, on lower imports of unwrought gold.
    • Most imports sectors posted declines.
    • Imports from the United States recorded a slight increase, while imports from countries other than the United States decreased in January. 

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, January 2012 to January 2017

Canada-U.S. Trade in Billions of Dollars

Source: CANSIM Table 228-0059, Merchandise imports and exports, Balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted.

Text Version
Merchandise exports and imports, billions of dollars
 ExportsImports
January 201239.739.7
February 201239.639.6
March 201238.339.5
April 201238.639.3
May 201238.539.9
June 201238.240.5
July 201237.540.6
August 20123839.1
September 201237.938.9
October 201238.338.7
November 201238.540.1
December 201238.538.9
January 201338.639.5
February 201339.540.2
March 20134040.2
April 201340.640.7
May 201339.640.5
June 201339.540
July 201338.740.3
August 201340.741.5
September 20134141.1
October 201340.340.7
November 201340.241.4
December 201340.541.4
January 201440.641.1
February 201443.242.4
March 201444.442.8
April 201443.743.4
May 201445.344.8
June 201444.843.6
July 201445.143.9
August 201444.844.1
September 201444.644.5
October 201444.645.1
November 201443.844.3
December 201443.644.6
January 201542.744.6
February 201542.744.3
March 201543.246.4
April 20154345.4
May 201542.845.6
June 201545.145.7
July 201545.546.4
August 201544.546.8
September 20154446.1
October 20154345.3
November 201543.445.5
December 201544.945.8
January 201645.646.6
February 201643.145.8
March 201641.544.8
April 201641.644.8
May 201641.345.2
June 201641.445.4
July 201643.145.4
August 201643.845.6
September 201643.547.7
October 201643.945.2
November 201646.345
December 201646.245.8
January 201746.545.6

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: Exports were up 0.5% (or $237.2 million), to $46.5 billion in January, despite 6 of 11 sectors recording declines. Higher exports of motor vehicles and parts (+7.7%, to $7.8 billion), as well as farm, fishing and intermediate food products (+12.8%, to $3.1 billion) contributed to this increase. The former reached a record high, largely led by higher Chinese demand for Canadian canola.

In January, exports were up 1.8%, or $840.4 million, compared to January 2016.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: Imports edged down 0.3%, to $45.6 billion, with 7 of 11 sectors posting declines. Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 5.5% to $3.8 billion and imports of machinery, equipment and parts decreased by 4.3%, to $4.1 billion.

In January, imports were down 2.1%, or $971 million, compared to January 2016.  

United States:

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the United States widened to $4.5 billion in January, from $3.8 billion in December.
  • Exports to the United States rose 2.3% to $34.6 billion in January, on higher exports of passenger cars and light trucks.
  • Imports from the United States increased 0.3% to $30.1 billion.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
January 
  2017
Exports
($ millions)
Monthly  
Change
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year 
Imports
($ millions)
Monthly
Change
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year 
Source: CANSIM Table 228-0069, Merchandise imports and exports, Balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted, current dollars.
All Countries46,4502371.845,643-122-2.1
% Changen.a.0.5%n.a.n.a.-0.3%n.a.
Volume changen.a.1.0%n.a.n.a.2.5%n.a.
Price changen.a.-0.5%n.a.n.a.-2.7%n.a.
       
United States34,647775-0.230,12977-4.0
Mexico757-1911.21,623-845.9
EU3,378-6070.14,68426511.0
  United Kingdom1,359-171.069710837.4
  Germany391-16713.51,248-78-0.4
  France275-134-7.1363-5-6.4
India412-912.6265353.9
China2,43029823.23,153-28-2.4
Japan1,0766621.5732-273-16.5
South Korea5733658.2457-90-13.4

Countries other than United States:

  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. increased to $3.7 billion in January, from $3.4 billion in December.
  • Exports to non-U.S. countries fell 4.4% to $11.8 billion.
  • Lower exports to Switzerland (-$298 million) and Spain (-$200 million) – both due to fewer aircraft exports – contributed to the decline.
  • Imports from countries other than United States decreased 1.3% to $15.5 billion, led by fewer imports of passenger cars and light trucks from Japan.

Commodities/Products

In January, exports rose 0.5% to $46.5 billion, despite declines in 6 of 11 sectors. Export volumes increased 1.0% while export prices edged down 0.5%.

Export highlights

    • Exports of motor vehicles and parts rose 7.7% to $7.8 billion.
      • Exports of passenger cars and light trucks increased 12.3% to $5.4 billion.
    • Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products increased 12.8% to $3.1 billion, on larger volumes.
      • Exports of canola rose 38.4% to a record high of $845 million and have more than doubled since October.
    • Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals increased 5.9% to $1.6 billion.
      • On higher exports of metal ores and concentrates (+53.8% to $960.5 million).
    • Exports of consumer goods decreased 3.9% to $6.0 billion.
      • Exports of food, beverage and tobacco products fell 4.1% to $2.7 billion.
    • Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 4.6% to $4.9 billion.

    In January, imports were down 0.3% to $45.6 billion, with declines in 7 of 11 sectors. Import volumes were up 2.5% while imports prices decreased 2.7%.

    Import highlights

    • Imports of motor vehicles and parts were up 3.6% to $8.9 billion, returning to October’s level.
      • Imports of passenger cars and light trucks rose 10.9% to $4.1 billion, mainly on a rise in imports from the United States and the United Kingdom. 
    • Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 5.5% to $3.8 billion.
    • Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts were up 1.5% to $5.4 billion. 
      • Imports of communications and audio and video equipment increased 9.2% to $1.8 billion.
    Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – January 2017 and % change January 2016 to January 2017
    Commodity
    January 2017
    Exports
    ($ millions)
    Year-to-date 
    % change
    revious year
    Imports
    ($ millions)
    Year-to-date 
    % change
    previous year
    Resource Products24,41613.9%      14,145 -1.7%
      Energy8,34144.7%      2,47619.2%
    Non-resource Products20,770-9.3%      30,081 -2.1%
      Industrial Machinery & Equipment2,671-10.7%        4,146-7.3%
    Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,284-10.0%        5,3790.6%
      Motor Vehicles7,844-9.0%        8,921-1.5%
      Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.1,92923.8%        1,5981.2%
      Consumer Goods6,042-15.9%      10,036-2.3%
    All commodities46,4501.8%      45,644 -2.1%

    Source: CANSIM 228-0059, North American Product Classification System 2007 – seasonally adjusted. Totals don’t add up as “Special transactions trade” and “Other balance of payments adjustments” are not included.