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Canadian international merchandise trade, September 2013

Released: 2013-11-14

Canada's merchandise exports grew 1.8% while imports edged up 0.2% in September. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed from $1.1 billion in August to $435 million in September.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Exports and imports - Description and data table
Exports and imports

Chart 1: Exports and imports - Description and data table

Exports increased to $40.6 billion on the strength of energy products as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts. Overall, volumes were up 1.7%.

Imports edged up to $41.1 billion, as gains in energy products and consumer goods were partially offset by declines in basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts. Import prices were up 0.4% while volumes were down 0.2%.

Exports to the United States increased 1.0% to $30.5 billion on higher exports of aircraft. Imports from the United States were up 0.9% to $26.2 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States rose from $4.2 billion in August to $4.3 billion in September.

Exports to countries other than the United States rose 4.2% to $10.1 billion; the European Union (+21.0%) was the main contributor to the increase. Imports from countries other than the United States declined 1.1% to $14.8 billion, with the largest decrease reported for the principal trading area "all other countries". As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $5.3 billion in August to $4.7 billion in September.

Exports up on higher volumes

Exports of energy products rose 4.6% to $10.2 billion in September, their highest level since September 2008. Natural gas, refined petroleum energy products as well as crude oil and crude bitumen all contributed to the section's growth in September. Exports of crude oil and crude bitumen have increased since May to a record high of $7.3 billion in September. Overall, volumes were up 6.0%.

Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts grew 17.4% to $1.6 billion, entirely on higher volumes. Aircraft exports were the main contributor, increasing from $464 million in August to $646 million in September.

Energy products and consumer goods lead increase in imports

Imports of energy products advanced 7.3% to $3.9 billion in September, as both volumes and prices were up. Imports of crude oil and crude bitumen rose 12.7% to $2.6 billion and were the main contributor to this section's increase.

Imports of consumer goods grew 2.2% to a record high of $8.4 billion, led by pharmaceutical and medicinal products (+9.3%). Overall, volumes rose 1.9%.

Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts rose 2.5% to $4.8 billion. All commodity groupings increased, with electronic and electrical parts reporting the largest gain. Volumes were up 2.8%.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts declined 12.7% to $1.2 billion, as volumes fell 12.1%. Aircraft was the only commodity grouping to register a decrease, down to $143 million in September from $375 million in August.

Imports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products decreased 7.1% to $3.3 billion. The main contributor to the decline was lubricants and other petroleum refinery products (-32.3%). Overall, volumes were down 12.3% while prices increased 5.9%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Trade balance - Description and data table
Trade balance

Chart 2: Trade balance - Description and data table

  Note to readers

Merchandise trade is one component of Canada's international balance of payments (BOP), which also includes trade in services, investment income, current transfers as well as capital and financial flows.

International merchandise trade data by country are available on both a BOP and a customs basis for the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. Trade data for all other individual countries are available on a customs basis only. BOP data are derived from customs data by making adjustments for factors such as valuation, coverage, timing and residency. These adjustments are made to conform to the concepts and definitions of the Canadian System of National Accounts.

Data in this release are on a BOP basis, seasonally adjusted and in current dollars. Constant dollars are calculated using the Laspeyres volume formula (2007=100).

For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

Note regarding the recent US government shutdown

Under a 1990 agreement between Canada and the United States, each country uses the other's import data in lieu of its own export data. This month's release of international merchandise trade data, originally scheduled for November 5, has been delayed to allow for the receipt of trade data from the United States government following its return to work on October 17. All of the data have been received and processed according to normal procedures and standards, and are fully reflected in this month's release.

Revisions

In general, merchandise trade data are revised on an ongoing basis for each month of the current year. Current year revisions are reflected in both the customs and BOP based data.

The previous year's customs data are revised with the release of the January and February reference months as well as on a quarterly basis. The previous two years of customs based data are revised annually and are released in February with the December reference month.

The previous year's BOP based data are revised with the release of the January, February and March reference months. Revisions to BOP based data for the previous four years were released in June with the April reference month.

Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of import and export documentation, incorrect information on customs forms, replacement of estimates produced for the energy section with actual figures, changes in classification of merchandise based on more current information, and changes to seasonal adjustment factors.

Data for the seasonally adjusted custom based series in CANSIM tables 228-0058 and 228-0059 have been revised for the period of 1997 to 2006.

Revised data are available in the appropriate CANSIM tables.

These data are now available in the Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database (Catalogue number65F0013X). From the Browse by key resource module of our website, choose Publications.

The September 2013 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 67, no. 9 (Catalogue number65-001-X), is also now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Data on Canadian international merchandise trade for October will be released on December 4.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Alec Forbes (613-951-0325), International Trade Division.

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