Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

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

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Canadian exports reached a record high in March, increasing 3.8%, to $47.0 billion.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world posted a $135-million deficit in March, down from a $1.1 billion deficit in February. 

Exports

  • Exports rose 3.8% to a record $47.0 billion in March, as a result of stronger exports of energy products and consumer goods.
    • Exports increased in most sectors.
    • Exports to non-U.S. countries also reached a record high in March, led by China, India and South Korea.
  • Exports reached a record level of $138.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Imports

  • Imports were up 1.7% in March, to $47.1 billion, for the fourth consecutive month.
    • With gains in most sectors.
    • Imports of unwrought gold led the increase.
  • Imports also reached a record level of $139.7 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, March 2012 to March 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
March 2012      38.3      39.5
April 2012      38.6      39.3
May 2012      38.5      39.9
June 2012      38.2      40.5
July 2012      37.5      40.6
August 2012      38.0      39.1
September 2012      37.9      38.9
October 2012      38.3      38.7
November 2012      38.5      40.1
December 2012      38.5      38.9
January 2013      38.6      39.5
February 2013      39.5      40.2
March 2013      40.0      40.2
April 2013      40.6      40.7
May 2013      39.6      40.5
June 2013      39.5      40.0
July 2013      38.7      40.3
August 2013      40.7      41.5
September 2013      41.0      41.1
October 2013      40.3      40.7
November 2013      40.2      41.4
December 2013      40.5      41.4
January 2014      40.6      41.1
February 2014      43.2      42.4
March 2014      44.4      42.8
April 2014      43.7      43.4
May 2014      45.3      44.8
June 2014      44.8      43.6
July 2014      45.1      43.9
August 2014      44.8      44.1
September 2014      44.6      44.5
October 2014      44.6      45.1
November 2014      43.8      44.3
December 2014      43.6      44.6
January 2015      42.7      44.6
February 2015      42.7      44.3
March 2015      43.2      46.4
April 2015      43.0      45.4
May 2015      42.8      45.6
June 2015      45.1      45.7
July 2015      45.5      46.4
August 2015      44.5      46.8
September 2015      44.0      46.1
October 2015      43.0      45.3
November 2015      43.4      45.5
December 2015      44.9      45.8
January 2016      45.3      46.7
February 2016      43.4      45.7
March 2016      41.6      44.6
April 2016      41.6      44.7
May 2016      41.3      45.2
June 2016      41.4      45.4
July 2016      43.2      45.4
August 2016      43.7      45.7
September 2016      43.4      47.7
October 2016      43.9      45.3
November 2016      46.2      45.1
December 2016      46.2      45.9
January 2017      46.4      46.3
February 2017      45.3      46.3
March 2017      47.0      47.1

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: Exports were up 3.8% (or $1.7 billion), to $47.0 billion in March, with 8 of 11 sectors recording gains. Higher exports of energy products (+7.0%, to $8.7 billion), as well as consumer goods (+6.8%, to $6.1 billion) were the main contributors to the increase.

For the first three months of the year, exports were up 6.4%, compared to the same period in 2016.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: Imports rose 1.7%, to $47.1 billion, with gains in 7 of 11 sectors. Higher imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products (+10.4%, to $4.0 billion), industrial machinery, equipment and parts (+4.1%, to $4.4 billion), as well as motor vehicles and parts (+1.5% to $9.3 billion) led the increase.  

For the first three months of the year, total imports increased 2.0% compared to the same period in 2016. 

United States:

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $4.0 billion in March, from $4.5 billion in February.
  • Exports to the United States edged up 0.1% to $34.4 billion in March.
  • Imports from the United States increased 2.0% to $30.4 billion.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
March 
  2017
Exports
($ 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 Countries46,9771,7256.447,1127782.0
% Changen.a.3.8%n.a.n.a.1.7%n.a.
Volume changen.a.2.5%n.a.n.a.-0.2%n.a.
Price changen.a.1.3%n.a.n.a.1.9%n.a.
       
United States34,353505.330,382587-0.3
Mexico8426514.61,7768611.7
EU3,8962712.84,7202437.5
  United Kingdom1,64866-1.369810815.5
  Germany41513613.91,272-13-0.8
  France268-698.336517-4.4
India66927642.024910-1.7
China2,27030418.03,382383.8
Japan1,0355412.01,1938816.3
South Korea48623028.3546-570.5

Countries other than United States:

  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. narrowed to $4.1 billion in March, from $5.6 billion in February.
  • Exports to non-U.S. countries rose 15.3% to a record high $12.6 billion.
  • Higher exports to China (gold and coal), India (legumes) and South Korea (coal and copper) were responsible for the gain.
  • Imports from countries other than United States increased 1.2% to $16.7 billion, on higher imports from Saudi Arabia (crude oil) and the United Kingdom.

Commodities/Products

In March, exports rose 3.8% to a record high $47.0 billion, following a 2.5% decline in February. Increases were observed in 8 of 11 sectors. Export volumes were up 2.5% while export prices rose 1.3%.

Export highlights

    • Exports of energy products were up 7.0% to $8.7 billion.
      • Leading the raise were exports of natural gas, up 31.6%, which is attributable to unusually low temperatures in the northeastern United States.
      • Exports of other energy products (excluding oil and gas) rose 64.2%, mainly on higher exports of coal to Japan, China and South Korea.

    • Exports of consumer goods rose 6.8% to $6.1 billion.
      • Export of other food products, up 11.9% to a record high of $1.4 billion, on increased exports of yellow peas and red lentils to India, led the increase.
    • Exports of miscellaneous goods and supplies also contributed to the increase, up 21.2% on higher exports of gold coins.
    • Metal and non-metallic mineral products were up 7.1% to $5.6 billion.
      • Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys led the increase, up 14.1%, mainly on higher exports of unwrought gold to China.

 

    In March, imports were up for the fourth consecutive month, increasing 1.7% to $47.1 billion, with gains in 7 of 11 sectors. Imports volumes edged down 0.2%, while import prices rose 1.9%.

    Import highlights

    • Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 10.4% to $4.0 billion, returning to December levels.
      • Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys contributed most to the gain, rising 61.1% to $856 million.
      • Higher imports of unwrought gold from Japan led the increase. 
    • Imports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts rose 4.1% to $4.4 billion, the highest level since September 2016. The increase was broad-based among sectors. 
    • Imports of motor vehicles and parts reached a record-high $9.3 billion, up 1.5%.
      • Imports of motor vehicle engines and motor vehicles parts were up 1.5% to $4.2 billion.
      • Imports of passenger cars and light trucks increased 1.3% to $4.3 billion, mainly on strong truck sales in March. 

     

    Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – March 2017 and % change  March 2016 to March 2017
    Commodity
    March 2017
    Exports
    ($ millions)
    Year-to-date 
    % change
    revious year
    Imports
    ($ millions)
    Year-to-date 
    % change
    previous year
    Resource Products25,00627.8%      14,471 5.7%
      Energy8,74877.8%      2,39519.6%
    Non-resource Products20,704-0.8%      30,874 4.7%
      Industrial Machinery & Equipment2,7679.9%        4,3671.5%
    Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,3421.0%        5,3651.8%
      Motor Vehicles7,723-4.3%        9,3268.3%
      Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.1,752-16.7%        1,66318.4%
      Consumer Goods6,1214.2%      10,1532.7%
    All commodities46,97712.9%      47,112 5.6%

    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.