Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

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

PDF Version (231 KB)

Summary

Canada’s merchandise exports increased 3.9% in December with widespread gains across most sectors. Exports to countries other than the U.S. spurred this increase with a 7.0% gain. Imports were also up for the first time in four months, gaining 1.6%. As a result, the merchandise trade deficit narrowed to $585 million in December from $1.6 billion in November.

For 2015 as a whole, exports decreased 0.9% to $524.0 billion. While the value of energy products exports shrunk by more than a third (down 34.6%), this was mitigated by large gains in the exports of consumer goods (up 18.5%), motor vehicles and parts (up 16.8%), aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (up 15.4%), electronic and electrical equipment and parts (up 13.4%) and industrial machinery, equipment and parts (up 11.4%). Merchandise imports increased 4.4% to $547.3 billion in 2015. In volume terms, exports actually increased 4.0% while imports grew 1.1%, emphasizing the successful adjustment of the economy to a severe depreciation in face of the collapse of commodity prices. A more comprehensive analysis of Canada’s trade performance in 2015 will be provided in the next few days by the Office of the Chief Economist.

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports rose strongly in December after three consecutive monthly decreases between August and October were followed by a modest increase in November. Export volumes increased 2.1% while prices rose 1.8%.

  • Of the $1.7 billion increase in merchandise exports in December, $1.0 billion was due to exports to the U.S., which grew slower than the total at 2.9%. The remaining $0.7 billion was contributed by exports to the rest of the world, which increased 7.0%. Exports to Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany rose considerably, while exports to China, the U.K. and Japan declined. 
  • Exports increased in ten of eleven major sectors, with the only one to decline being metal ores and non-metallic minerals (down 20.1%). Strong increases occurred in exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment (up 26.4%), metal and non-metallic mineral products (up 8.5%), consumer goods (up 6.4%) and motor vehicles and parts (up 4.6%). Exports of the latter reached $5.9 billion, the highest value recorded since January 2000.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports increased 1.6% in December, of which 1.5% were volumes and prices 0.1%. For 2015 as a whole, imports increased 4.4%, of which 1.1% were volumes.

  • An increase in imports from the U.S. (up 1.3%), Germany (up 31.8%) and Hong Kong (up 18.1%) was observed in December. Imports from some Asian countries fell: China (down 0.3%), Japan (down 19.8%) and South Korea (down 18.9%).
  • Imports rose in 9 out of 11 major sectors, with the largest percentage gains in energy products (up 7.9%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (up 5.4%). 

Canada’s Merchandise Trade Balance

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit narrowed from $1.6 billion in November to $585 million in December. For the year as a whole, Canada posted a trade deficit of $23.3 billion, compared to a $4.8-billion surplus in 2014

  • Canada’s monthly surplus with the U.S. widened from $2.6 billion in November to $3.2 billion in December; the trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed.
  • In real (or volume) terms, however, exports rose 4.0% and imports rose 1.1%, indicating a positive shift in the real trade balance and suggesting that the contribution of trade to GDP was likely positive. 
Key Export Trade Statistics by Region – December 2015
Region$ billionsChange over
previous month (%)
Change over
previous year (%)
YTD 2015
$ billions
YTD change
over previous year
United States33.9192.93.6395.763-0.9
EU3.5046.7-5.039.474-3.5
China1.774-2.66.621.4344.1
Japan0.908-5.65.710.099-9.0
Mexico0.6893.013.67.91515.7
Other4.55715.56.249.277-1.3
All45.3513.93.4523.962-0.9
Key Import Trade Statistics by Region – December 2015
Region$ billionsChange over
previous month (%)
Change over
previous year (%)
YTD 2015
$ billions
YTD change
over previous year
United States30.7311.31.5362.7373.5
EU4.6477.610.452.9427.4
China3.105-0.33.338.8999.5
Japan0.798-19.8-3.110.89418.6
Mexico1.4620.0-7.318.3446.4
Other5.1913.85.563.4651.8
All45.9351.62.5547.2814.4
Key Trade Balance Statistics –  December 2015
Activity$ billionsChange over
previous month
Change over
previous year
YTD 2015
$ billions
YTD change
over previous
year
Exports45.3513.9%3.4%523.962-0.9%
Imports45.9351.6%2.5%547.2814.4%
Trade Balance-0.585-1.587-0.967-23.3184.791
Key Export Trade Statistics by Sector –  December 2015
Sector$ billionsChange over
previous month (%)
Change over
previous year (%)
YTD 2015
$ billions
YTD
change over
previous year
Farm, fishing and intermediate food products2.7915.09.232.1463.4
Energy products6.1450.2-26.584.204-34.6
Metal ores and non-metallic minerals1.462-20.1-8.319.0021.9
Metal and non-metallic mineral products5.0018.5-9.757.8410.3
Basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products2.8740.6-4.335.431-1.0
Forestry products and building and packaging materials3.4720.19.239.7517.9
Industrial machinery, equipment and parts2.9567.212.132.80611.4
Electronic and electrical equipment and parts2.3481.36.027.65013.4
Motor vehicles and parts8.3664.626.787.06116.8
Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts2.26726.420.324.87915.4
Consumer goods6.3886.421.969.64618.5
Key Import Trade Statistics by Sector –  December 2015
Sector$ billionsChange over
previous month (%)
Change over
previous year (%)
YTD 2015
$ billions
YTD
change over
previous year
Farm, fishing and intermediate food products1.429-1.35.716.4098.5
Energy products2.2557.9-28.430.749-28.7
Metal ores and non-metallic minerals0.8051.4-7.910.302-5.1
Metal and non-metallic mineral products3.8045.4-9.546.6020.8
Basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products3.7571.0-0.844.714-0.2
Forestry products and building and packaging materials2.0721.23.724.5987.6
Industrial machinery, equipment and parts4.5470.55.553.6555.4
Electronic and electrical equipment and parts5.2482.35.963.1527.6
Motor vehicles and parts8.6080.76.1100.4211.0
Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts1.908-1.837.021.27725.1
Consumer goods10.0642.010.6117.46610.6
Key Rates and Indices - December 2015
TypeCurrent
month
Previous
month
Same month
previous year
Change over
previous month (%)
Change over
same month
previous year (%)
Commodity Price IndexFootnote 1322.8353.1467.7-8.6-31.0
Can/US Exchange Rate1.3701.3281.1533.218.8
Trade weighted exchange rateFootnote 291.894.8106.9-3.2-14.1
Terms of trade (2007 = 100)89.889.994.7-0.1-5.2
Canada-U.S. Trade in Billions of DollarsFootnote 3
MonthExportsImports
December 201533.91930.731
November 201532.52130.409
October 201532.11630.436
September 201533.28630.691
August 201534.14030.793
July 201535.07830.924
June 201534.11729.943
May 201532.26629.633
April 201532.19429.671
March 201531.48929.740
February 201531.82129.782
January 201532.52029.713
December 201432.74330.281
Canada-U.S. Trade in Billions of Dollars
Exports to the EU, China, Japan, Mexico and Others in Billions of DollarsFootnote 4
MonthExports to EUExports to ChinaExports to JapanExports to MexicoExports to Others
December 20153.5041.7740.9080.6894.557
November 20153.2551.8460.9630.6634.007
October 20153.6181.7380.7530.6184.247
September 20153.2021.7680.8250.6514.237
August 20152.7391.9110.8500.7514.124
July 20153.3591.9630.8230.7103.919
June 20153.4501.7660.8370.6383.780
May 20153.0481.6220.7650.6764.096
April 20153.0191.9970.7610.6013.857
March 20153.3761.6870.9440.6574.229
February 20153.3561.7320.7340.6284.325
January 20153.5101.6860.9160.6183.996
December 20143.6871.6640.8590.6074.293
Exports to the EU, China, Japan, Mexico and Others in Billions of Dollars
Exchange Rate Indices
MonthUS
dollar
Chinese
renminbi
EuroJapanese
yen
Mexican
peso
December 201584.287.795.385.898.9
November 201586.889.499.989.399.5
October 201588.290.596.988.8100.7
September 201586.989.495.487.5100.8
August 201587.789.997.090.4100.0
July 201589.689.9100.592.698.5
June 201593.393.5102.496.799.4
May 201594.694.9104.795.999.7
April 201593.593.7106.693.798.0
March 201591.492.1104.292.295.9
February 201592.393.2100.291.894.8
January 201595.295.6101.194.396.4
December 2014100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
Exchange Rate Indices
Commodity Price IndicesFootnote 5
MonthTotal, all
commodities
Total
excl. energy
EnergyForestryAgriculture
December 201569.080.461.284.574.2
November 201575.583.770.285.179.5
October 201579.585.975.885.081.6
September 201579.985.776.783.283.7
August 201578.188.571.187.789.0
July 201588.393.186.291.894.7
June 201597.095.1101.590.396.5
May 201597.295.2101.885.894.9
April 201591.594.491.387.992.7
March 201586.695.181.391.993.9
February 201589.796.286.197.091.9
January 201587.998.281.099.894.5
December 2014100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
Commodity Price Indices

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. 

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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