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Canadian international merchandise trade, May 2014

Released: 2014-07-03

Canada's merchandise exports advanced 3.5% and imports grew 1.6% in May. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed from $961 million in April to $152 million in May.

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 $44.2 billion, the second highest value on record, led by motor vehicles and parts. Overall, volumes were up 4.2% and prices declined 0.7%.

Imports expanded to $44.3 billion, as volumes increased 2.4% and prices declined 0.8%. The main contributors to the increase in imports were motor vehicles and parts as well as metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

Exports to the United States lead growth

Exports to the United States advanced 2.1% to $33.5 billion in May, led by passenger cars and light trucks. Imports from the United States edged down 0.2% to $28.7 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States widened from $4.0 billion in April to $4.8 billion in May.

Exports to countries other than the United States grew 8.3% to $10.7 billion. Imports from countries other than the United States rose 5.1% to $15.6 billion, led by the European Union (+12.4%). As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $5.0 billion in April to $4.9 billion in May.

Motor vehicles and parts leads gain in exports

Exports of motor vehicles and parts grew 9.8% to $6.6 billion in May, a fourth consecutive monthly increase. Volumes were up 10.7%. The increase in exports in May was led by passenger cars and light trucks (+15.7%), as production resumed after maintenance was conducted at some Canadian manufacturing plants in April.

Exports of energy products advanced 3.4% to $10.9 billion, on higher volumes. Exports of refined petroleum energy products increased by $505 million to $1.1 billion in May, following a $452 million decline in April, as some Canadian refineries that were conducting maintenance in April returned to more normal levels of production.

Exports of consumer goods increased 4.4% to a record $4.8 billion, as volumes were up 6.5%. Pharmaceutical and medicinal products led the growth in exports, up 41.4% to $748 million in May following a 25.6% decline in April. Also contributing to the section's increase was other food products (+10.5%), mainly red lentils and yellow peas.

Imports increase on higher volumes

Imports of motor vehicles and parts increased for a fourth consecutive month, up 6.7% to $7.8 billion in May, as volumes increased 7.3%. Motor vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts (+7.5%) and passenger cars and light trucks (+6.3%) were the main contributors to the section's growth, as production resumed after maintenance was conducted at some Canadian manufacturing plants in April.

Imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals grew 44.5% to $1.0 billion, on higher volumes. Imports of the commodity grouping "other metal ores and concentrates" increased $202 million in May following a $241 million decline in April. In both cases, gold bullion was the main factor.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts advanced 12.7% to $1.4 billion, as imports of aircraft increased by $195 million to reach $286 million.

Imports of energy products declined 3.6% to $3.6 billion, as prices fell 7.5% while volumes increased 4.2%. Natural gas was the main contributor to the decrease, as imports fell 13.7% to $609 million following four consecutive monthly increases.

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 Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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. To remain consistent with the Canadian System of macroeconomic accounts, annual revisions will take place in December with the October reference month rather than in June, as was previously the case.

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.

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 May 2014 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 68, no. 5 (Catalogue number65-001-X), is also available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Data on Canadian international merchandise trade for June will be released on August 6.

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 Accounts and Trade Division.

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