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Canadian international merchandise trade, July 2014

Released: 2014-09-04

Canada's merchandise exports increased 1.4% in July, while imports edged down 0.3%. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the world widened from $1.8 billion in June to $2.6 billion in July.

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

Chart 1: Exports and imports - Description and data table

Exports rose to $45.5 billion, led by motor vehicles and parts. Overall, volumes increased 1.1% and prices 0.3%.

Imports edged down to $43.0 billion, as prices declined 0.6% while volumes increased 0.4%. Lower imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts, consumer goods as well as metal and non-metallic mineral products were partially offset by higher imports of motor vehicles and parts.

Exports to the United States increase

Exports to the United States rose 1.9% to $34.4 billion in July and imports from the United States increased 1.2% to $29.2 billion. Motor vehicles and parts was the main contributor to both gains. Canada's trade surplus with the United States widened from $4.9 billion in June to $5.1 billion in July.

Exports to countries other than the United States edged up 0.1% to $11.2 billion. Imports from countries other than the United States declined 3.2% to $13.7 billion, as imports from the principal trading area "all other countries" (-4.6%) and the European Union (-3.7%) fell. Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $3.0 billion in June to $2.6 billion in July.

Exports of motor vehicles and parts increase

Exports of motor vehicles and parts grew 9.7% to $6.9 billion in July. Motor vehicles and parts increased for the fifth time in seven months, as automobile sales in both Canada and the United States have hit record highs throughout the year. In July, exports of passenger cars and light trucks (+10.2%) led the overall gain, with an increase also being recorded for motor vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts (+8.9%).

Exports of energy products declined 2.1% to $11.3 billion, as prices were down 1.8% and volumes edged down 0.3%. The main contributor to the decrease in exports was crude oil and crude bitumen, which fell 1.6% to $8.5 billion in July following a record high of $8.6 billion in June. Exports of natural gas declined for a fifth consecutive month, down 6.3% to $1.1 billion in July as volumes fell 4.6% and prices 1.8%.

Imports edge down

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts fell 11.9% to $1.4 billion in July. The main contributor to the decline was the commodity grouping "ships, locomotives, railway rolling stock, and rapid transit equipment," which decreased $92 million to $43 million in July. Aircraft engines and aircraft parts declined 9.2% to $687 million.

Imports of consumer goods declined 1.9% to $8.6 billion, a third consecutive monthly decrease. Volumes decreased 1.0% and prices 0.9%. There were widespread declines in imports throughout the section, led by clothing, footwear and accessories (-4.4%) and miscellaneous goods and supplies (-2.6%).

Also declining in July were imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products, down 4.4% to $3.5 billion on lower volumes. Lower imports were recorded for unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys (-15.8%) and unwrought copper and copper alloys (-60.0%). Imports of these two commodities tend to fluctuate on a month-to-month basis.

Partially offsetting the declines were imports of motor vehicles and parts, which rose 2.7% to $7.8 billion. Volumes were up 2.2%. Leading the gains were imports of motor vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts (+7.4%).

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 currently 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.

More countries will be available on a BOP basis for trade in goods

The countries and country groupings for which Statistics Canada currently publishes data on a BOP basis will be replaced by a list of Canada's top 27 principal trading partners (PTPs). The list of PTPs is based on their annual share of total trade—merchandise imports and exports—with Canada in 2012.

Historical data based on the new list of PTPs for the reference period from January 1997 to December 2010 will be released on November 19, 2014.

The first regular release of data based on the new list of PTPs will be on December 5, 2014. This release will cover the period from January 2011 to October 2014. A calculated trade balance and the expanded list of PTPs will be featured in the new CANSIM table 228-0069.

A conceptual analysis of BOP versus customs-based data, titled Balance of Payments Trade in Goods at Statistics Canada: Expanding Geographic Detail to 27 Principal Trading Partners (PTPs), will be available to users in the fall of 2014.

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 July 2014 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 68, no. 7 (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 August will be released on October 3.

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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