Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

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

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Exports decreased in August, while imports were unchanged.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s merchandise trade deficit totalled $3.4 billion in August, up from a $3.0-billion deficit in July. 


  • Total exports fell 1.0% to $43.6 billion in August.
    • Exports decreased despite increases in 6 of 11 sectors.



  • Imports were virtually unchanged in August, at $47.0 billion.
    • Widespread declines were offset by gains in a few sectors. 

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, August 2012 to August 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
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 201645.346.7
February 201643.445.7
March 201641.644.6
April 201641.644.7
May 201641.345.2
June 201641.445.4
July 201643.245.4
August 201643.745.7
September 201643.447.7
October 201643.945.3
November 201646.245.1
December 201646.245.9
January 201746.546.4
February 201745.346.7
March 201746.847.6
April 201747.448.5
May 201748.849.9
June 201746.450.1
July 201744.147.0
August 201743.647.0


Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: Following two months of large decreases, exports were down a further 1.0% in August, on lower volumes. Exports have fallen 10.6% since the record high posted in May. Consumer goods, basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products as well as metal ores and non-metallic minerals were responsible for the decline in export values.

For the first eight months of the year, exports were up 8.0%, compared to the same period last year.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: After posting the strongest decline since January 2009 in July, total imports were virtually unchanged in August. Notable offsetting movements were observed as gains in motor vehicles and parts (+2.5%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (+9.9%), were counterbalanced by losses in consumer goods (-1.8%) and aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (-10.2%).

For the first eight months of the year, total imports were up 5.5% compared to the same period last year.  

United States:

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $2.3 billion in August, from $3.2 billion in July.
  • Exports to the United States were down 1.8% to $32.6 billion in August, mainly on fewer exports of unwrought gold.
  • Imports from the United States increased 0.9% to $30.3 billion.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
($ millions)
% change
previous year 
($ millions)
% change
previous year 
Source: CANSIM Table 228-0069, Merchandise imports and exports, Balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted, current dollars.
All Countries43,630-4218.0%47,043105.5%
% Changen.a.-1.0%n.a.n.a.0.0%n.a.
Volume changen.a.-1.9%n.a.n.a.0.2%n.a.
Price changen.a.1.0%n.a.n.a.-0.2%n.a.
United States32,614-5886.430,3012793.1
Mexico746264.5 1,89720012.9
  United Kingdom1,69834710.6652-197.1
South Korea4305524.6580-2314.5

Countries other than United States:

  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. narrowed from $6.2 billion in July, to $5.7 billion in August.
  • Exports to non-U.S. countries advanced 1.5% to $11.0 billion.
  • Higher exports to the United Kingdom (unwrought gold) and Japan (coal and canola) were partially offset by lower exports to China (canola) and India (uranium).
  • Imports from countries other than United States were down 1.6% to $16.7 billion.
  • Lower imports from China (cellphones), Saudi Arabia (crude oil) and Norway (ships) were partially counterbalanced by higher imports from Mexico (motor vehicles and parts). 


In August, exports contracted 1.0% to $43.6 billion, despite increases in 6 of 11 sectors. Export volumes were down 1.9% while export prices increased 1.0%.

Export highlights

  • Exports of consumer goods were down 3.8% to $5.7 billion, the third consecutive monthly decline.
    • Exports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products led the decrease (-8.6%) mainly on lower exports to Italy.
    • Exports of prepared and packaged seafood products also contributed to the decline (-10.5%), following the close of the Snow Crab fishing season at the end of July.
  • Exports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products declines 5.9% to $2.7 billion.
    • Exports of basic chemicals led the decline, falling 8.3%.
  • Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals also contributed to the decrease, down 9.7% to $1.5 billion.
    • Fewer exports of radioactive ores and concentrates (-75.3%) owing to shutdowns at uranium refining facilities in August.

In August, imports were virtually unchanged at $47.0 billion, and declines were observed in 7 of 11 sectors. Import volumes were up 0.2%, while import prices posted a 0.2% loss.

Import highlights

  • Imports of motor vehicles and parts increased 2.5% to $9.3 billion.
    • Following a 17.0% decrease over June and July, imports of motor vehicle engines and motor vehicles parts were up 5.3% in August.
  • Imports of metal ores and non-metallic mineral increased 9.9% to $1.2 billion, on higher volumes.
  • Imports of consumer goods fell 1.8% to $10.1 billion, the fourth consecutive monthly decrease.HERE
    • Clothing, footwear and accessories (-5.9%) led the decline, mostly on lower clothing imports from Bangladesh.


Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – August 2017 and % change August 2016 to August 2017
August 2017
($ millions)
% change
revious year
($ millions)
% change
previous year
Resource Products22,3543.7%      14,431 -0.1%
  Energy7,13115.1%      2,372-7.8%
Non-resource Products20,080-4.4%      30,708 3.4%
  Industrial Machinery & Equipment2,8522.7%        4,53112.1%
Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,3251.4%        5,3341.9%
  Motor Vehicles7,394-5.3%        9,3331.4%
  Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.1,8544.1%        1,3874.2%
  Consumer Goods5,654-10.8%      10,1222.5%
All commodities43,630-0.2%      47,043 3.0%

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.