Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

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

PDF Version (231 KB)

Canadian trade activity has been strong in recent months, and reached a record total value of merchandise trade of $98.5 billion in May, a 13.8% increase over last year.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world posted a $1.1-billion deficit in May, widening from a $552-million deficit in April. 

Exports

  • Total exports rose 1.3% to a record high of $48.7 billion in May, the third consecutive monthly gain.
    • Exports increased in most sectors, led by higher unwrought gold exports.

 

Imports

  • Imports were up 2.4% in May, to $49.8 billion, the sixth consecutive monthly increase.
    • Imports advanced in most sectors, led by aircraft and motor vehicles and parts.

 

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, May 2012 to May 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
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 201645.346.7
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 201746.646.5
February 201745.446.8
March 201747.047.7
April 201748.148.6
May 201748.749.8

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: Exports were up 1.3% (or $634 million), to a record high of $48.7 billion in May, a third consecutive monthly gain on account of higher volumes. Higher exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products (+11.1%, to $6.2 billion), as well as motor vehicles and parts (+3.6%, to $8.5 billion) were the main contributors to the increase.

For the first five months of the year, exports were up 10.6%, compared to the same period last year.

 

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: Imports rose 2.4%, to $49.8 billion, a sixth consecutive monthly increase. Higher imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (+45.9%, to $2.0 billion), motor vehicles and parts (+3.7%, to $9.8 billion), as well as energy products (+6.5% to $2.8 billion) led the increase in May.  

For the first five months of the year, total imports increased 5.5% compared to the same period last year.

United States:

  • Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $3.5 billion in May, from $4.8 billion in April.
  • Exports to the United States edge down 0.3% to $36.3 billion in May.
  • Imports from the United States were up 3.6% to a record $32.7 billion, on higher imports of aircraft and motor vehicles.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
May 
  2017
Exports
($ 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 Countries48,68663410.6%49,7721,1685.5%
% Changen.a.1.3%n.a.n.a.2.4%n.a.
Volume changen.a.1.2%n.a.n.a.1.8%n.a.
Price changen.a.0.2%n.a.n.a.0.6%n.a.
       
United States36,256-949.132,7221,1273.7
Mexico695-767.91,7884011.6
EU4,05170410.24,617-128.4
  United Kingdom2,13169314.8643-7411.2
  Germany409818.61,100-2113.5
  France3672419.037720-2.8
India503-8557.6261125.8
China2,001-8919.23,6918111.2
Japan1,30430120.41,2796221.5
South Korea457-10838.1509-523.5

Countries other than United States:

  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. narrowed to $4.6 billion in May, from $5.3 billion in April.
  • Exports to non-U.S. countries advanced 6.2% to $12.4 billion.
  • Higher exports of unwrought gold to the United Kingdom were responsible for the increase.
  • Imports from countries other than United States edged up 0.2% as higher imports from Saudi Arabia (crude oil), China, and Belgium were largely offset by lower imports from Germany (passenger cars).

Commodities/Products

In May, exports rose 1.3% to a record high of $48.7 billion, a third consecutive monthly gain on account of higher volumes, with advances in 8 of 11 sectors. Export volumes were up 1.2% while export prices edged up 0.2%.

Export highlights

    • Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 11.1% to a record high of $6.2 billion.
      • Leading the rise were unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys (+$731 million), mainly on stronger exports of unwrought gold to the United Kingdom.
    • Exports of motor vehicles and parts rose 3.6%, to $8.5 billion.
      • Export of passenger cars and light trucks posted the largest increase, up 3.0% to $5.8 billion.
    • Exports of energy products fell 9.0% to $8.0 billion, limiting the overall gains.
      • Exports of crude oil and crude bitumen, down 15.2% to $5.0 billion, were behind this decrease, an atypical decline for crude oil in May, a month that usually sees increases with the start of the summer.

In May, imports were up 2.4% to $49.8 billion, a sixth consecutive monthly increase, with gains in 7 of 11 sectors. Imports volumes were up 1.8%, while import prices posted a 0.6% gain.

Import highlights

  • Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts increased 45.9% to $2.0 billion.
    • Aircraft imports led the gain and rose $527 million to $636 million in May, due to the imports of five new airliners.
  • Imports of motor vehicles and parts posted a fifth consecutive monthly increase, up 3.7% to a record $9.8 billion.
    • Imports of motor vehicle engines and motor vehicles parts rose 4.4%, coinciding with stronger production and higher exports of motor vehicles in May.
    • After having posted a 3.1% decline in April, imports of passenger cars and light trucks rebounded 3.4% in May, to reach $4.3 billion.
  • Imports of energy products increased 6.5% to reach $2.8 billion.
    • Imports of refined petroleum energy products led the increase, up 16.4% to $748.1 million.

 

Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – May 2017 and % change May 2016 to May 2017
Commodity
May 2017
Exports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
revious year
Imports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year
Resource Products25,22228.5%      15,610 12.4%
  Energy8,02452.1%      2,79111.2%
Non-resource Products22,1687.7%      32,366 8.6%
  Industrial Machinery & Equipment3,08016.4%        4,49910.0%
Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,4929.2%        5,5727.2%
  Motor Vehicles8,4588.1%        9,77111.3%
  Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.1,923-1.6%        2,0335.1%
  Consumer Goods6,2155.8%      10,4917.0%
All commodities48,68617.8%      49,772 10.2%

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.