Current Trade News
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Trade Balance Hit 34-Year Low in 2009Wednesday, April 07, 2010 > 14:16:53
Canada imported more than it exported in 2009, the first time the country has posted an annual trade deficit since 1975. Statistics Canada reported Tuesday the country exported $369.7 billion worth of merchandise to the world in 2009, down 24.5% from 2008.
At the same time, imports fell 15.5% to $374.2 billion during the same period, giving Canada a trade deficit of $4.5 billion for the calendar year. That was the first annual trade deficit for Canada's export-dependent economy since 1975, though the size of the former trade surplus has been on a downward trend since 2004. In 2008, Canada posted a $46.9 billion trade surplus.
The widespread slowdown of the global economy significantly affected the market for Canadian goods, especially in the first half of the year, the data agency said.
Canada maintained its trade surplus with the United States, though it narrowed to $34.8 billion in 2009 from $89.1 billion in 2008. The surplus to the United States alone hit its lowest level since 1997. The trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed to $39.3 billion in 2009 from $42.2 billion in 2008.
In 2009, the United States represented 63% of Canada's total merchandise trade (exports and imports combined), down from 65.7% in 2008 and 71.1% in 2005.
For the first time, countries other than the United States accounted for a quarter of Canada's exports, up from 16.2% in 2005. China replaced Japan as Canada's third largest trading partner, behind the United States and the United Kingdom. Exports to China, which have been growing for the past seven years, increased 6.6% to $11.2 billion. Canada's major exports to China include crops such as canola and commodities such as iron ore, coal and other fuel products. Canada imported $39.7 billion worth of merchandise from China, down seven percent from 2008.
Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100406/dq100406a-eng.htm