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Canadian international merchandise trade, October 2014

Released: 2014-12-05

Canada's merchandise imports increased 0.5% to $44.8 billion in October. Exports edged up 0.1% to $44.9 billion. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the world narrowed from $307 million in September to $99 million in October.

Import prices rose 0.7% while volumes edged down 0.2% in October. Exports prices were up 1.6% while volumes declined 1.5%.

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

Chart 1: Exports and imports - Description and data table

Increase in imports from the United States

Imports from the United States rose 1.0% to $30.3 billion in October. Imports from countries other than the United States declined 0.5% to $14.5 billion; the main contributors were Germany (-11.5%) and the United Kingdom (-11.2%). An increase in imports from China (+3.5%) moderated these declines.

Exports to the United States advanced 0.7% to $33.9 billion, while exports to countries other than the United States declined 1.8% to $11.1 billion. Exports to Hong Kong fell by half to $268 million in October, following an increase of $349 million in September. Also declining were exports to Germany (-29.9%). Partially offsetting these decreases were higher exports to the United Kingdom (+10.2%).

As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $3.6 billion in September to $3.5 billion in October. Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States widened from $3.3 billion in September to $3.4 billion in October.

Increase in imports led by consumer goods as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts

Imports of consumer goods rose 3.1% to $9.2 billion in October, led by the commodity groupings 'miscellaneous goods and supplies' (+11.0%) and 'clothing, footwear and accessories' (+5.4%). In the section as a whole, volumes rose 2.2% and prices 0.9%.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts were up 12.4% to a record high $1.7 billion; the previous record was in May 2008. The commodity grouping 'ships, locomotives, railway rolling stock, and rapid transit equipment' recorded the largest gain, up $183 million to reach $220 million in October. Also contributing to the section's gains were imports of aircraft (+21.2%).

Moderating the overall increase in imports, energy products decreased 10.1% to $3.3 billion as volumes fell 6.1% and prices 4.3%. Lower imports of crude oil and crude bitumen (-18.5%) and refined petroleum energy products (-10.5%) were the main contributors to the decline.

Exports edge up

Exports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts advanced 8.0% to $2.6 billion in October, the highest value since the record high in October 2008. Miscellaneous parts of machinery and equipment led the monthly increase, as exports rose 13.7% to $815 million. This was followed by exports of the commodity grouping 'logging, mining and construction machinery and equipment,' which rose 32.9% to $164 million. Overall, volumes increased 7.5%.

Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products declined 8.6% to $2.3 billion, as volumes fell 6.9% and prices 1.8%. Decreases in exports were recorded for most commodity groupings, including other crop products (-19.9%), canola (-17.0%), wheat (-6.4%) and other animal products (-33.8%).

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 trade data by commodity are available on both a BOP and a customs basis. International trade data by country are available on a customs basis for all countries, and are now available on a BOP basis for Canada's top 27 principal trading partners. 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 are now available on a BOP basis for trade in goods

The countries and country groupings for which Statistics Canada previously published data on a BOP basis have now been replaced with 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 were released on November 19, 2014.

This is the first regular release of data based on the new list of PTPs, and includes the period from January 2011 to October 2014. A calculated trade balance and data based on the expanded list of PTPs is now featured in the new CANSIM table 228-0069.

For a conceptual analysis of BOP versus customs-based data, see "Balance of Payments trade in goods at Statistics Canada: Expanding geographic detail to 27 principal trading partners."

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.

For more information on revisions for crude oil and natural gas, see "Revisions to trade data for crude oil and natural gas."

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 October 2014 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 68, no. 10 (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 November 2014 will be released on January 7, 2015.

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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