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Canadian international merchandise trade, December 2015Friday, February 05, 2016 > 11:09:33
(StatsCanada The Daily) Released: 2016-02-05
Canada's exports increased 3.9% in December and imports were up 1.6%. Export volumes increased 2.1% and prices 1.8%. For imports, volumes were up 1.5% and prices 0.1%. Consequently, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed from $1.6 billion in November to $585 million in December.
In 2015, annual imports increased 4.4% while exports decreased 0.9%. Consequently, Canada's annual merchandise trade balance with the world shifted from a surplus of $4.8 billion in 2014 to a deficit of $23.3 billion in 2015. However, in real (or volume) terms, exports surpassed imports. Real exports rose 4.0% and imports were up 1.1% in 2015. As a result, Canada's annual trade balance in real terms shifted from a deficit of $10.3 billion in 2014 to a surplus of $3.1 billion in 2015.
Chart 1 Merchandise exports and imports
Higher exports to the United States and non-US countries
Exports to the United States increased 2.9% to $33.9 billion in December and imports were up 1.3% to $30.7 billion. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States widened from $2.6 billion in November to $3.2 billion in December.
Exports to countries other than the United States rose 7.0% to $11.4 billion. There were higher exports to Singapore and Hong Kong in December. Meanwhile, imports from countries other than the United States increased 2.1% to $15.2 billion, mainly from Germany. Consequently, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $4.2 billion in November to $3.8 billion in December.
Widespread gains in exports
Total exports rose 3.9% to $45.4 billion in December. The gains were widespread as 10 of 11 sections increased, with metal ores and non-metallic minerals posting the lone decline. Exports excluding energy products were up 4.5% in the month. Year over year, total exports increased 3.4%.
Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts rose 26.4% to $2.3 billion in December. Aircraft exports were up 64.4% to $1.0 billion. Exports in this commodity grouping tend to fluctuate from month to month.
Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 8.5% to $5.0 billion in December. The main contributor was unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys, which rose 32.7% to $1.7 billion on higher volumes.
In December, exports of consumer goods were up 6.4% to $6.4 billion on higher volumes. Widespread gains throughout the section were led by pharmaceutical and medicinal products, which rose 26.4% to $1.1 billion.
Exports of motor vehicles and parts increased 4.6% to $8.4 billion. Volumes increased 2.7% and prices 1.8%. In December, exports of passenger cars and light trucks rose 7.5% to $5.9 billion, the highest export value since January 2000.
Partially offsetting these gains, exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals fell 20.1% to $1.5 billion. Exports of copper ores and concentrates declined $242 million to reach $278 million in December, following a $289 million increase in November. For the section as a whole, volumes fell 17.9% and prices were down 2.6%.
Imports rise on higher volumes
Total imports increased 1.6% to $45.9 billion in December, following three consecutive monthly decreases. Imports rose in 9 of 11 sections, with the largest gains in metal and non-metallic mineral products; consumer goods; energy products; and electronic and electrical equipment and parts. Year over year, total imports were up 2.5%.
Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products rose 5.4% to $3.8 billion in December. The main contributor was unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys, up 18.4% to $860 million. For the section as a whole, volumes were up 4.0% and prices 1.3%.
Imports of consumer goods increased 2.0% to $10.1 billion in December. Prices were up 2.6% while volumes declined 0.7%. There were higher imports of miscellaneous goods and supplies (+4.1%) and clothing, footwear and accessories (+3.3%).
In December, energy products imports rose 7.9% to $2.3 billion. Higher imports of crude oil and crude bitumen (+31.4%) were partially offset by lower imports of refined petroleum energy products (-21.2%). Overall, volumes rose 19.6% while prices declined 9.8%.
Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts were up 2.3% to $5.2 billion on higher prices. Imports of communications and audio and video equipment rose 5.7% to $1.7 billion in December.
Quarterly trade declines
Total exports fell 1.5% in the fourth quarter. Imports decreased 1.8%, the first quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2012.
In real (or volume) terms, exports edged down 0.1% from the third quarter. Lower real exports of energy products (-2.6%) and aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (-10.2%) were partially offset by higher real exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products (+4.8%). Meanwhile, quarterly real imports were down 2.6%. The main contributors to the decline were electronic and electrical equipment and parts (-6.4%) and consumer goods (-3.1%).
Revisions to November imports and exports
Revisions reflect initial estimates being updated or replaced with administrative and survey data as they became available, as well as amendments made for late documentation of high-value transactions. Imports in November, originally reported as $45.2 billion in last month's release, were virtually unchanged with the current month release. Exports, originally reported as $43.3 billion in last month's release, were revised to $43.6 billion.
International merchandise trade balance