Monthly Merchandise Trade Report

Monthly Report on Canada's International Merchandise Trade Performance, February 2019

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Canada’s global exports were down in February despite a 3.5% increase in exports to the U.S.

Trade Balance

  • Canada’s merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed from $3.1 billion in January to $2.9 billion in February.

Exports

  • In February, total exports decreased 1.3% over the previous month to $48.0 billion.
    • MMainly on lower exports of non-energy products.
    • Exports decreases were observed in 10 of 11 sectors.

Imports

  • Imports were down 1.6% to $50.9 billion in February.
    • The decline in imports was widespread across all sectors.
    • Imports decreases were observed in 8 of 11 sectors. 

Chart 1: Value of Canada's trade in goods, February 2014 to February 2019

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
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       46.1       47.8
February 2018       46.2       48.7
March 2018       48.2       51.8
April 2018       49.0       50.5
May 2018       48.9       51.7
June 2018       50.9       51.6
July 2018       51.3       51.3
August 2018       50.7       51.1
September 2018       50.1       50.9
October 2018       49.9       50.7
November 2018       48.0       50.2
December 2018       46.2       51.0
January 2019       47.6       51.8

Background

Canadian Merchandise Exports

Canadian merchandise exports: exports fell 1.3% to $48.0 billion from January to February. All non-energy product sectors posted declines in February, led by the metal and non-metallic mineral products.

Year-to-date (January and February 2019), exports were up 4.6%, compared to the same period in 2018. 

Canadian Merchandise Imports

Canadian merchandise imports: imports fell 1.6% to $50.9 billion in February, with metal and non-metallic mineral products posting the largest decline.

Year-to-date (January and February 2019), imports were up 6.2%, compared to the same period in 2018.

United States:

  • Exports to the United States rose 3.5% to $36.3 billion in February, primarily on higher exports of crude oil.
  • Imports from the United States gained 1.2%, to $32.8 billion in February, in part due to higher imports of aircraft.
  • As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the United States widened from $2.6 billion in January to $3.5 billion in February.
Table 1: Changes in Canadian Trade: monthly, year-to-date and by principal trading partners
February 
  2019
Exports
($ 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 Countries47,971-6494.6%50,865-8406.2%
% Changen.a.-1.3%n.a.n.a.-1.6%n.a.
Volume changen.a.-4.1%n.a.n.a.0.0%n.a.
Price changen.a.2.9%n.a.n.a.-1.6%n.a.
       
United States36,3201,2433.6 32,8153783.4
Mexico700-1391.5 1,531-250-3.1
EU3,595-6804.85,497-22814.7
  United Kingdom1,398-70214.1659-14121.0
  Germany4261417.91,290-157-0.7
  France235-49-14.3410-217.8
India463-9141.036113-1.5
China2,162-1468.73,840-43517.8
Japan921-2050.41,073104-7.0
South Korea5023011.87595231.8

Countries other than United States:

  • Exports to non-U.S. countries fell 14.0% in February to $11.7 billion, the lowest level since February 2018.
    • Widespread decreases were led by lower export to the U.K. (gold), Saudi Arabia (other transportation equipment), Japan (canola and other crop products) and the Netherlands (iron ores, crude oils and coal).
  • Imports from countries other than the United States also posted a strong decline, down 6.3% to $18.1 billion in February.
    • A number of countries contributed to the decrease, including China (various products), Mexico and Germany (both cars), and the U.K. (aircraft and parts, energy products).
  • As a result, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States rose from $5.7 billion in January to $6.4 billion in February. 

Commodities/Products

In February, exports fell 1.3% to $48.0 billion with declines observed in 10 of 11 sectors. Export volumes were down 4.1%, while exports prices increased by 2.9%.

Export highlights:

  • Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products contracted (-6.6%) to $5.2 billion.
    • The decrease was largely due to lower exports of refined gold to the U.K.
  • Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals fell in February (-11.0%) to $1.7 billion.
    • There were lower exports of potash to the United States, as well as lower exports of iron ores to the Netherlands.
  • Exports of motor vehicles and parts were also down in February (-2.8%), to $7.3 billion.
    • Mainly on lower exports of passenger cars and light trucks.
  • Partially offsetting the overall decrease, exports of energy products increased in February (+11.7%) to $9.3 billion.

In February, imports declined 1.6% to $50.9 billion, following two consecutive monthly increases. Decreases were observed in 8 of 11 sectors. Import prices were down 1.6%, while import volumes were essentially unchanged.

Import highlights:

  • Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell in February (-7.7%).
    • Mainly due to lower imports of unwrought gold.
  • Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts fell in February (-3.8%) to $5.8 billion.
    • After reaching high levels in the past three months, imports of computers and peripherals (-9.5%) fell back in February, mainly on lower imports of laptops from the U.S. and China.
  • Other notable decreases in imports were observed in the industrial machinery, equipment and parts sector (-3.5%), consumer goods (-1.9%) and motor vehicles and parts (-1.9%).
  • Partially offsetting these decreases were higher imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (+6.3%) to $2.8 billion, mostly on higher imports of airliners from the U.S.
Table 2: Exports and Imports by commodities – February 2019 and % change February 2018 to February 2019
Commodity
February 2019
Exports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year
Imports
($ millions)
Year-to-date 
% change
previous year
Resource Products25,5892.5%      15,1391.2%
  Energy9,3065.5%      2,918-9.3%
Non-resource Products21,1154.4%      34,0305.6%
  Industrial Machinery & Equipment3,3878.3%        5,7558.9%
Electronic./Electric. Machin. & Equip.2,5118.4%        5,7871.5%
  Motor Vehicles7,279-4.0%        9,418-1.5%
  Aircrafts/Other Transportation Equip.2,18212.2%        2,83043.5%
  Consumer Goods5,7559.8%      10,2405.5%
All commodities47,9713.3%      50,865 4.2%

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.