Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

Monthly Report on Canada's International Merchandise Trade Performance, November 2018

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In November, exports were down for a fourth consecutive month, due to lower exports of energy.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $851 million in October to $2.1 billion in November.

Exports

  • In November, total exports decreased 2.9% over the previous month, to $48.3 billion.
    • Mainly on lower exports of crude oil to the United States.
    • Exports to non-U.S. countries edged up 0.1% in November.

Imports

  • Imports decreased 0.5% to $50.4 billion in November.
    • Largely due to fewer imports of motor vehicles and parts.
    • Imports declines were observed in 7 of 11 sectors. 

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, November 2013 to November 2018

Canada-U.S. Trade in Billions of Dollars

Source: Statistics Canada Table 12-10-0011-01, Merchandise imports and exports, Balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted.

Text Version
Merchandise exports and imports, billions of dollars
 
ExportsImports
November 2013      40.2      41.4
December 2013      40.5      41.4
January 2014      40.4      41.3
February 2014      43.2      42.6
March 2014      44.4      42.9
April 2014      43.7      43.4
May 2014      45.2      44.7
June 2014      45.1      43.5
July 2014      45.3      43.6
August 2014      44.8      43.8
September 2014      45.0      44.4
October 2014      45.0      45.2
November 2014      43.6      44.4
December 2014      43.5      44.8
January 2015      42.3      44.7
February 2015      42.8      44.6
March 2015      43.1      46.6
April 2015      42.9      45.3
May 2015      42.5      45.1
June 2015      44.8      45.3
July 2015      45.6      46.0
August 2015      44.8      46.4
September 2015      44.3      46.4
October 2015      43.3      45.8
November 2015      43.1      46.2
December 2015      44.5      46.5
January 2016      45.5      46.8
February 2016      43.3      46.5
March 2016      41.5      44.7
April 2016      41.5      44.6
May 2016      40.9      44.5
June 2016      41.0      44.9
July 2016      43.1      44.6
August 2016      44.2      45.7
September 2016      44.0      48.0
October 2016      44.4      45.7
November 2016      46.2      45.2
December 2016      45.9      45.7
January 2017      46.6      46.8
February 2017      45.6      47.0
March 2017      46.7      47.8
April 2017      47.2      48.1
May 2017      48.5      49.9
June 2017      45.8      49.3
July 2017      43.7      46.5
August 2017      43.9      46.8
September 2017      43.6      46.9
October 2017      44.7      46.1
November 2017      46.3      49.2
December 2017      46.7      49.8
January 2018      45.7      48.0
February 2018      46.0      48.7
March 2018      47.9      51.7
April 2018      48.8      50.4
May 2018      48.7      51.6
June 2018      50.6      51.5
July 2018      51.0      51.1
August 2018      50.5      51.1
September 2018      49.8      50.8
October 2018      49.8      50.6
November 2018      48.3      50.4

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: exports fell 2.9% to $48.3 billion from October to November, a fourth consecutive monthly decline with energy products contributing the most to the decline.

Year-to-date (January to November), exports were up 6.9%, compared to the same period last year.

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: imports edged down 0.5% to $50.4 billion, led by vehicles and parts. Partially offsetting the decrease were higher imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (+21.2%), to $2.1 billion.

Year-to-date, imports were up 6.0% compared to the same period last year.  

United States:

  • Exports to the United States declined 3.9% to $35.3 billion in November on lower exports of crude oil.
  • Imports from the United States were down 0.3%, to $33.2 billion in November.
  • As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $3.5 billion in October to $2.2 billion in November, the smallest trade surplus since September 2017.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
November 
  2018
Exports
($ millions)
Monthly  
Change
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year 
Imports
($ millions)
Monthly
Change
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year 
Source: Statistics Canada Table 12-10-0011-01, Merchandise imports and exports, Balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted, current dollars.
All Countries48,329-1,4396.9%50,389-2306.0%
% Changen.a.-2.9%n.a.n.a.-0.5%n.a.
Volume changen.a.-1.8%n.a.n.a.-0.3%n.a.
Price changen.a.-1.1%n.a.n.a.-0.1%n.a.
       
United States35,337-1,4505.9 33,161-925.8
Mexico788-83.9 1,597-98-1.7
EU4,1575366.74,934-7212.5
  United Kingdom1,635551-10.4654142.2
  Germany4802519.21,3793110.2
  France2891-0.3405-2110.2
India310-46-6.03203728.1
China2,630-16713.93,9761378.4
Japan1,163-839.7930115-6.7
South Korea444-417.5683-2410.5

Countries other than United States:

  • Exports to non-U.S. countries edged up 0.1% in November to $13.0 billion.
  • A sharp increase in exports to the U.K. (gold) was almost entirely offset by a decrease in exports to Hong Kong (gold), the Netherlands (iron ore and heavy fuel oil), and China (gold).
  • Imports from countries other than the United States fell 0.8% to $17.2 billion in November, a third consecutive monthly decline.
  • Lower imports from Russia (crude oil), Switzerland (copper), and Mexico (passenger cars and light trucks) were partially offset by higher imports from China (computers) and Japan (gold and passenger cars).
  • As a result, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. narrowed from $4.4 billion in October, to $4.2 billion in November, the smallest deficit since December 2016. 

Commodities/Products

In November, exports declined 2.9% to $48.3 billion with decreases observed in 8 of 11 sectors. Export volumes were down 1.8%, and exports prices decreased by 1.1%.

Export highlights:

  • Exports of energy products fell in November (-9.2%) to $8.4 billion.
    • Exports of crude oil (-17.7%) led the decline, driven by a 13.9% drop in prices, which were down for a third consecutive month.
    • Partially offsetting the decrease were higher exports of coal to South Korea, China, and Vietnam.
  • Exports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products also fell in November (-7.5%), to $2.8 billion.
    • Exports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products contracted (-26.4%), mostly on lower exports of motor gasoline blending stock to the northeastern U.S.
  • Exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials were also down in November (-5.7%), primarily due to lower exports of pulp and paper (-10.1%). Despite November’s decline, the year-to-date cumulative value of pulp and paper exports was 18.2% higher compared to the same period last year.

In November, imports edged down 0.5% to $50.4 billion. Declines were observed in 7 of 11 sectors. Import volumes were down 0.3% and import prices edged down 0.1%.

Import highlights:

  • Imports of motor vehicles and parts contracted (-2.8%) to $8.9 billion.
    • On lower imports of passenger cars and light trucks (-5.5%), to $3.7 billion.
    • This is the ninth decrease in 12 months, with imports of passenger cars and light trucks declining 13.9% compared with November 2017.
  • Imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals fell in November (-18.6%) to $1.1 billion.
    • After posting a record high in September, imports of other metal ores and concentrates were down (-19.6%) for a second consecutive month, mainly on lower imports of gold for refining from the United States.
Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – November 2018 and % change November 2017 to November 2018
Commodity
November 2018
Exports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year
Imports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year
Resource Products25,4584.4%      15,4775.5%
  Energy8,4444.0%      3,18014.6%
Non-resource Products21,5134.1%      32,9350.0%
  Industrial Machinery & Equipment3,4508.8%        5,8255.9%
Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,5123.1%        6,0611.5%
  Motor Vehicles7,646-0.8%        8,874-6.5%
  Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.2,10511.7%        2,148-4.3%
  Consumer Goods5,7996.1%      10,0273.3%
All commodities48,3294.4%      50,389 2.4%

Source: Statistics Canada Table 12-10-0121-01, International merchandise trade data by North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) – seasonally adjusted. Totals don’t add up as “Special transactions trade” and “Other balance of payments adjustments” are not included.