Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

Monthly Report on Canada's International Merchandise Trade Performance, December 2016

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Canada’s exports reached a monthly record in December, led by exports to non-US countries.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the world narrowed from a revised $1.0 billion in November to $923 million in December, its second consecutive monthly trade surplus.
  • For the year as a whole, the annual merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $23.0 billion in 2015 to $26.1 billion in 2016.

Exports

  • Exports were up 0.8% in December, to a record $46.4 billion.
    • Exports increased on higher energy product prices.
    • This is the third consecutive monthly gain in exports.
    • Exports were up despite declines in several sectors.
  • In 2016, total annual exports were down 0.7% to $521.1 billion.

Imports

  • Imports increased 1.0% in December, to $45.5 billion.
    • Most sectors recorded gains.
    • Aircraft, industrial machinery, and metals drove the increase in imports.
  •  Total annual imports edged down 0.1% to $547.2 billion.

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, Dec. 2011 to Dec. 2016

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
December 201141.839.7
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 201238.039.1
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 201340.040.2
April 201340.640.7
May 201339.640.5
June 201339.540.0
July 201338.740.3
August 201340.741.5
September 201341.041.1
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 201543.045.4
May 201542.845.6
June 201545.145.7
July 201545.546.4
August 201544.546.8
September 201544.046.1
October 201543.045.3
November 201543.445.5
December 201544.945.8
January 201645.746.6
February 201643.145.7
March 201641.544.8
April 201641.545.1
May 201641.345.0
June 201641.445.4
July 201643.145.3
August 201643.745.8
September 201643.547.7
October 201643.845.2
November 201646.145.1
December 201646.445.5

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: Exports were up 0.8%, to $46.4 billion in December, despite declines in 7 of 11 sectors. Export of energy products rose 15.9% to $8.5 billion, the highest value since November 2014. Crude oil and crude bitumen was the main contributor to the increase, up 17.2% to $5.7 billion, on higher prices. Natural gas exports were also up in December, rising 36.0% to $1.1 billion as below-average seasonal temperatures in northeastern United States drove up natural gas prices. Excluding energy, exports fell 2.1%.

Compared to December last year, total exports increased 3.4%.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: Imports were up 1.0%, to $45.5 billion, with 6 of 11 sectors recording gains, led by higher imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts; industrial machinery, equipment and parts and metal and non-metallic mineral products.

Compared to December last year, total imports declined 0.7%.  

United States:

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $4.4 billion in December, from $4.7 billion in November.
  • Exports to the United States edged up 0.2% to $34.2 billion in December.
  • Imports from the United States increased 1.3% to $29.7 billion.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
December 
  2016
Exports
($ 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 Countries46,440371-0.745,518460-0.1
% Changen.a.0.8%n.a.n.a.1.0%n.a.
Volume changen.a.-1.4%n.a.n.a.0.4%n.a.
Price changen.a.n.an.a.n.a.n.an.a.
       
United States34,15958-1.229,740376-1.0
Mexico774313.81,6832162.8
EU3,878356.44,331-136-1.5
  United Kingdom1,376388.7549-52-12.1
  Germany4484210.91,30726-2.7
  France403359.2364-12-2.5
India441-18-9.5220-471.0
China2,110643.93,15749-3.5
Japan1,010-238.7998-648.9
South Korea538589.95392745.3

Countries other than United States:

  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the US narrowed to $3.5 billion in December, from $3.7 billion in November.
  • Exports to non-US countries rose 2.6% in December to a record $12.3 billion.
  • Exports to Switzerland (+218 million) and Spain (+126 million) led the increase.
  • Imports from countries other than United States increased 0.5% to $15.8 billion, largely led by higher imports from Mexico.

Commodities

Exports rose 0.8% to a record $46.4 billion, despite decreases in 7 of 11 sectors. Export volumes decreased 1.4%.

Export highlights

  • Exports of energy products rose 15.9% to $8.5 billion, the highest value since November 2014.
    • Exports of crude oil and crude bitumen was the main contributor, up 17.2% to $5.7 billion.
    • Natural gas exports were also up in December, rising 36.0% to $1.1 billion.
  • Exports of motor vehicles and parts were down 5.2% to $7.4 billion in December, the lowest level since June 2015.
    • Exports of passenger cars and light trucks led the decline and fell 6.2% to $4.8 billion.
  • Following a 25.8% gain in November, exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals decreased 12.6% to $1.4 billion.
    • Lower exports of iron ores and concentrates led the decline, down 36.9% to $254 million.
    • Copper ores and concentrates also decreased, falling 30.2% to $246 million, mostly on lower exports to India.

In December, imports were up 1.0%, with 6 of 11 sectors recording gains. Import volumes were up 0.4%.

Import highlights

  • Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts increased 21.8% to 1.5$ billion.
    • Imports of aircraft increased $194 million, and imports of aircraft engines and parts rose $110 million. 
  • Imports of Industrial machinery, equipment and parts increased 6.4% to $4.3 billion, with all commodity groupings recording gains. Excluding the large increase in September owing to the import of a module for the Hebron offshore oil project, this is the largest increase since January 2015.
  • Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products were up 6.3% to $3.9 billion on higher volumes. 
    • Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys rose 28.0% to $941 million (mostly unwrought gold).
Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – Dec. 2016 and % change Jan. 2016 to Dec. 2016
Commodity
December 2016
Exports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
revious year
Imports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year
Resource Products24,260-5.7%      14,157 -3.2%
  Energy8,524-14.4%      2,173-10.8%
Non-resource Products20,9444.8%      29,661 1.3%
  Industrial Machinery & Equipment2,7100.2%        4,312-1.2%
Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,3882.2%        5,256-0.2%
  Motor Vehicles7,3529.5%        8,6136.2%
  Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.2,206-5.4%        1,475-12.2%
  Consumer Goods6,2885.6%      10,0051.6%
All commodities46,440-0.7%      45,518 0.1%

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.