Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

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

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ISSUE

  • In November, Canada recorded its first trade surplus with the world since September 2014.
  • Exports were up 4.3% in November.

IN BRIEF

  • Canada’s trade surplus with United States widened in November, to reach the largest surplus since June 2015.
  • Exports to the United States rose in November, up 2.5% to $33.7 billion.
  • Canada’s trade deficit with non-US countries is the smallest deficit since November 2014.
  • Exports to countries other than United States rose 9.5% to a record $12.0 billion, with exports to China advancing 11.1% to $2.0 billion in November.

KEY POINTS

  • Exports increased 4.3% in November, the highest level since the record in January 2016.
  • Exports to non-US countries reached a record high, at $12 billion, surpassing the previous record set in December 2011.
  • Imports were up 0.7%, mainly on higher imports of energy products.
  • Year-to-date exports were $474.3 billion, down 1.2% from a year ago and imports, at $501.7 billion, were slightly down (-0.1%) from last year. The trade deficit over the first eleven months reached $27.4 billion, $5.3 billion greater than the same period a year ago.

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, Nov. 2011 to Nov. 2016Canada-U.S. Trade in Billions of Dollars

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Exports were up 4.3%, or $1.9 billion, the highest level since the record in January 2016. Export volumes rose 3.5% and prices were up 0.8%. Overall, 10 of 11 sectors increased, a first since May 2014. Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products led the gains, rising 10.6% to $5.3 billion, the highest value since December 2014. In particular, exports of unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys advanced 24.3% (or $368 million) on larger shipments to Hong Kong and Switzerland. Year-to-date, total exports are down 1.2%, or $5.7 billion, over the January-November period of 2015.

Exports to China rose 11.1% to $2.0 billion in November, mostly on higher exports of coal. Exports to South Korea, Brazil and Japan were also higher.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Total imports were up 0.7% to $45.1 billion, with 7 of 11 sectors recording gains. Prices increased 1.0%, while volumes were down 0.3%. Higher imports of energy products, (up 18.2%, or $369 million) and consumer goods, (up 1.2%, or $121 million) were mostly offset by lower imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts, (down 17.2%, or $246 million) and motor vehicles and parts, (down 2.5%, or $224 million). Year-to-date, imports are down 0.1% (or $375 million), over the January-November period of 2015.  

United States:

  • In November 2016, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States widened from $3.2 billion in October to $4.2 billion, the largest surplus since June 2015.
  • Exports to United States also rose in November, up 2.5% to $33.7 billion.
  • Imports from United States were down 0.7% to $29.5 billion.
Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
November 
  2016
Exports
($ millions)
Monthly  
Change
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year 
Imports
($ millions)
Monthly
Change
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year 
All Countries

           45,614

1,878-1.245,088327-0.1
% Changen.a.4.3%n.a.n.a.0.7%n.a.
Volume changen.a.3.5%n.a.n.a.-0.3%n.a.
Price changen.a.0.8%n.a.n.a.1.0%n.a.
       
United States33,656836-1.729,466-194-0.8
Mexico7653713.81,467-1551.8
EU3,8613396.14,424-28-1.0
  United Kingdom1,345-2309.4574-125-12.3
  Germany406158.41,2701010.0
  France377819.837714-2.3
India46521-9.9268410.8
China2,0022012.13,097-253-3.9
Japan1,0231108.41,044-347.7
South Korea4791406.851110746.7

Source: CANSIM Table 228-0069, Merchandise imports and exports, Balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted, current dollars.

Countries other than United States:

  • In November 2016, exports to non-US countries reached a record high of $12.0 billion, surpassing the previous record set in December 2011.
  • China led the increase in exports, mostly on higher exports of coal.
  • Exports to South Korea, Brazil and Japan were also higher in November.
  • Imports from non-US countries also increased, up 3.5% to $15.6 billion, largely led by higher imports of crude oil from Norway, Algeria and Saudi Arabia.
  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the US narrowed from $4.2 billion in October, to $3.7 billion in November, the smallest deficit since November 2014.

Commodities

Exports increased in 10 of 11 sectors, a first since May 2014. Export volumes increased 3.5% while prices were up 0.8%.
  • Export highlights
  • Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 10.6% to $5.3 billion, the highest value since December 2014.
  • Exports of unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys led the gain, up 24.3% to $1.9 billion, on larger shipments to Hong Kong and Switzerland.
  • Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals increased 26.4% to $1.7 billion in November.
  • Exports of potash increased 38.3% to $431 million, on higher volumes.
  • Exports of iron ores and concentrates also contributed to the gain, up 43.0% to $396 million, as prices rose 25.7%.
  • Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products also contributed to the gain in November, up 8.0% to $2.8 billion.
  • Exports of canola were up 37.5% to $480 million, mostly due to higher exports to Pakistan.
  • Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts also rose, up 7.7% to $2.0 billion.
  • However, exports were lower for boats and other personal transportation equipment, after having posted strong gains in October.
  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the US narrowed from $4.2 billion in October, to $3.7 billion in November, the smallest deficit since November 2014.
  • In November, imports were up 0.7%, led by energy products, with 7 of 11 sectors recording gains. Prices rose 1.0%, while volumes were down 0.3%.
  • Import highlights
  • Imports of energy products increased 18.2% to $2.4 billion, after three consecutive monthly decreases.
  • Imports of crude oil and crude bitumen were up 62.3% to $1.3 billion, while imports of refined petroleum energy products were down 12.5% to $747 million. 
  • Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts were down 17.2% to $1.2 billion, the lowest since July 2013.
  • Aircraft imports were down $157 million to $48 million, mostly on fewer imports from the United States.
  • Exports and Imports by commodities–Nov. 2016 and % change Jan. 2016 to Nov. 2016

    Commodity

    November 2016

    Exports

    ($ millions)

    Year-to-date 

    % change

    previous year

    Imports

    ($ millions)

    Year-to-date 

    % change

    previous year

    Resource Products

    23,086

    -7.5%

          14,188

    -4.1%

      Energy

    6,771

    -20.0%

          2,393

    -14.5%

    Non-resource Products

    21,262

    5.8%

          29,143

    1.9%

      Industrial Machinery & Equipment

    2,873

    1.1%

            3,993

    -1.0%

    Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.

    2,463

    2.2%

            5,202

    -0.2%

      Motor Vehicles

    7,832

    11.9%

            8,760

    6.9%

      Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.

    2,006

    -6.5%

            1,185

    -8.9%

      Consumer Goods

    6,088

    6.3%

            10,003

    2.0%

    All commodities

    45,614

    -1.2%

          45,088

    0.1%