Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

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

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Canadian exports were down 2.4% in February, while imports edged up 0.6%.

Trade Balance

  • Following three consecutive monthly surpluses, Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world switched to a $972-million deficit in February. 

Exports

  • After reaching a record in January, total exports fell 2.4% to $45.3 billion in February, on lower volumes.
    • The decline in exports was broad-based with declines in most sectors.
    • The United States, China and South Korea, led the decline in exports.

Imports

  • Imports edged up 0.6% in February, to $46.3 billion, on higher imports of motor vehicles and parts.
    • Imports were up despite declines in most sectors.
    • Increased imports from countries other than the United States more than offset a fall in imports from the United States.

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, February 2012 to February 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
February 201239.639.6
March 201238.339.5
April 201238.69.3
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 201645.346.6
February 201643.445.7
March 201641.644.8
April 201641.644.8
May 201641.345.2
June 201641.445.4
July 201643.245.4
August 201643.745.7
September 201643.447.7
October 201643.945.2
November 201646.245.1
December 201646.245.8
January 201746.546.0
February 201745.346.3

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: Exports were down 2.4% (or $1.1 billion), to $45.3 billion in February, with 8 of 11 sectors recording losses. Lower exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products (-10.6%, to $2.7 billion), as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (-15.2%, to $1.6 billion) were the main contributors to the decrease.

Year-to-date, exports were up 3.4%, compared to the same period in 2016.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: Imports rose 0.6%, to $46.3 billion, despite declines in 7 of 11 sectors. Higher imports of special transactions trade1 (+33.1%, to $815 million), from an atypically low level in January, led the increase. Imports were also higher for motor vehicles and parts, as well as farm, fishing and intermediate food products.

Year-to-date, total imports increased 0.1%.  

1This commodity grouping includes low-valued transactions, value of repairs to equipment, as well as an estimate for the late documentation of transactions.

 

United States:

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the United States widened slightly to $4.5 billion in February, from $4.4 billion in January.
  • Exports to the United States were down 1.2% to $34.4 billion in February.
  • Imports from the United States decreased 1.6% to $29.9 billion, led by lower imports of aircraft and crude oil.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
February 
  2017
Exports
($ 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 Countries45,340-1,1193.446,3122740.1
% Changen.a.-2.4%n.a.n.a.0.6%n.a.
Volume changen.a.-2.5%n.a.n.a.0.3%n.a.
Price changen.a.0.1%n.a.n.a.0.3%n.a.
       
United States34,362-4332.929,887-493-2.4
Mexico768159.91,663239.1
EU3,6442843.74,440-2937.0
  United Kingdom1,5842255.4569-13310.6
  Germany280-1118.51,286271.3
  France338685.2346-16-6.5
India389-204.3239-25-5.6
China1,989-41711.93,338137-0.4
Japan981-819.81,0923565.5
South Korea255-31828.26021506.0

Countries other than United States:

  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. widened to $5.4 billion in February, from $4.0 billion in January.
  • Exports to non-U.S. countries fell 5.9% to $11.0 billion.
  • Fewer exports to China (Canola) and South Korea (coal) were responsible for the drop.
  • Imports from countries other than United States increased 4.9% to $16.4 billion, on higher imports from Japan, Norway and Brazil.

Commodities/Products

In February, exports declined 2.4% to $45.3 billion on lower volumes. Decreases were observed in 8 of 11 sectors. Export volumes were down 2.5% while export prices rose 0.1%.

Export highlights

    • Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts decreased 15.2% to $1.6 billion.
      • Leading the decline were exports of aircraft, down 23.1% to $447 million, a third consecutive monthly decrease.
      • Exports of boats and other personal transportation equipment, down 41.1% to $181million, also contributed to the movement.

    • Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products fell 10.6% to $2.7 billion.
      • Canola (down 33.7% to $552 million) contributed the most to the decline, although this is after more than doubling over the past three months.
    • Exports of consumer goods were down 4.3% to $5.7 billion, a second consecutive decrease.
      • Miscellaneous goods and supplies led the decrease, down 17.5% to $640 million, mostly on lower exports of gold coins to the United States.
    • Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 5.7% to $5.1 billion.
    • Exports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts increased 2.6% to $2.7 billion.

    In February, imports rose 0.6% to $46.3 billion, despite declines in 7 of 11 sectors. Import volumes and prices were both up 0.3%.

    Import highlights

    • Special transactions trade led the increases in imports, up 33.1% to $815 million.
      • This commodity grouping includes low-valued transactions, value of repairs to equipment, as well as an estimate for the late documentation of transactions. 
    • Imports of motor vehicles and parts rose 1.8% to $9.1 billion, the highest value since the record in August 2016.
      • Imports of passenger cars and light trucks led the increase, up 1.9% to $4.2 billion. 
    • Imports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products increased 8.7% to $1.4 billion.
      • Imports of food and tobacco were up 14.1% to $321million, mainly on higher imports of tobacco. 

     

    Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – February 2017 and % change  February 2016 to February 2017
    Commodity
    February 2017
    Exports
    ($ millions)
    Year-to-date 
    % change
    revious year
    Imports
    ($ millions)
    Year-to-date 
    % change
    previous year
    Resource Products23,92918.9%      14,391 6.7%
      Energy8,31380.7%      2,57462.3%
    Non-resource Products20,230-8.4%      30,216 -1.6%
      Industrial Machinery & Equipment2,7320.2%        4,133-6.7%
    Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,279-6.3%        5,356-0.2%
      Motor Vehicles7,911-7.4%        9,1334.1%
      Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.1,609-21.0%        1,545-13.2%
      Consumer Goods5,699-10.0%      10,049-2.9%
    All commodities45,3404.4%      46,312 -1.4%

    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.