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Canadian international merchandise trade

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July 2010 (Previous release)

Canada's merchandise exports fell 0.7% in July, as volumes declined in most sectors, while imports grew 2.0%. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world widened to $2.7 billion in July from $1.8 billion in June.

 Exports and imports

Exports declined from $33.0 billion in June to $32.8 billion in July, the fourth decrease in six months. Overall, export volumes declined 0.6%, falling in all export sectors with the exception of industrial goods and materials. Export prices edged down 0.2% during the month.

Machinery and equipment, other consumer goods and forestry products led the decrease in the value of exports. A gain in exports of industrial goods and materials moderated the decline.

Note to readers

Merchandise trade is one component of Canada's international balance of payments, 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 balance of payments 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. Balance of payments data are derived from customs data by making adjustments for characteristics 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 balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted in current dollars. Constant dollars are calculated using the Laspeyres volume formula.


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 balance of payments based data. Revisions to customs based data for the previous year are released on a quarterly basis. Revisions to balance of payments based data for the three previous years are released annually in June.

Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of import and export documentation, incorrect information on customs forms, replacement of estimates 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.

Imports grew from $34.9 billion in June to $35.5 billion in July, the highest level since November 2008. The gain represented the fourth increase in six months. Import volumes rose 1.4%, while prices increased 0.6%.

Energy products accounted for over half the growth in overall imports, followed by automotive products and machinery and equipment. In contrast, imports of industrial goods and materials fell in July.

Exports to the United States fell by 2.2%, while imports rose by 2.9%. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $1.2 billion in July from $2.4 billion in June. Canada's trade surplus with the United States has been declining since December 2009, as exports to the United States have fallen by 2.2% and imports have grown by 14.1% since then.

Exports to countries other than the United States rose 3.7%, mostly as a result of higher exports to the European Union, while imports increased 0.2%. Thus, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States shrank to $3.9 billion in July from $4.2 billion in June.

 Trade balance

Exports decline for a second consecutive month

After three months of growth, exports of machinery and equipment declined 1.9% to $6.4 billion in July, as volumes fell. Aircraft, engines and parts, down 9.6%, led the decrease. Exports of industrial machinery, namely gas turbines, fell 7.0%. Higher exports of other equipment and tools and other transportation equipment moderated the decline.

Exports of other consumer goods fell 7.3% to $1.3 billion, the lowest level since June 2000. The decrease was mostly a result of falling volumes. Lower exports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products largely accounted for the decline.

Exports of forestry products declined 5.3% to $1.8 billion, following 10 consecutive months of growth. Exports of lumber fell 18.7% in July after a solid gain a month earlier, as softwood lumber's export tariffs were lifted temporarily in June. Export volumes in the forestry products sector decreased 4.0% in July.

Exports of industrial goods and materials grew 2.3% to $7.5 billion in July, after three months of decline. The gain reflected a 4.9% volume increase. Precious metal exports (+37.2%) largely accounted for the gain in the sector, followed by other crude non-metallic minerals. Exports of metal ores fell in July, mainly copper ores and iron ores.

Crude petroleum leads the growth in imports

Energy products imports rose 11.9% to $3.3 billion in July, as volumes and prices increased. Imports of crude petroleum grew 19.0%, largely the result of higher volumes. Petroleum and coal also increased, on the strength of aviation fuel and metallurgical coke. Coal and other related products, namely natural gas, declined during the month.

Imports of automotive products increased 2.9% to $6.2 billion, as volumes grew 2.7%. Imports of passenger autos rose 9.1%, a third consecutive monthly gain.

Imports of machinery and equipment increased 1.3% to $9.8 billion, as volumes rose for a sixth consecutive month. Widespread gains in this sector were led by a 7.3% increase in imports of other communication and related equipment. Dampening the growth in the sector were imports of engines, turbines and motors, which fell 31.0% after reaching a record high in June.

Following two months of increases, imports of industrial goods and materials declined 3.1% to $7.3 billion in July. The decrease reflected a 5.0% drop in volumes as prices rose for a third straight month. Precious metals led the decline in the sector, followed by organic chemicals.

Available on CANSIM: tables 228-0001 to 228-0003, 228-0033, 228-0034, 228-0041 to 228-0043 and 228-0047 to 228-0057.

The merchandise imports and exports data in the following tables are presented in dollar values.

Tables 228-0001 to 228-0003: Customs and balance of payments basis, by major groups and principal trading areas for all countries; monthly, quarterly, and annual.

Table 228-0033: Imports, customs-based, by province of clearance; monthly.

Table 228-0034: Domestic exports, customs-based, by province of origin; monthly.

Tables 228-0041 to 228-0043: Customs and balance of payments basis, by sector and sub-sector, for all countries; monthly, quarterly, and annual.

The merchandise imports and exports data in the following tables are indexes (2002=100).

Tables 228-0047 to 228-0049: Balance of payments and customs-based price and volume indexes for all countries; monthly, quarterly, and annual.

Tables 228-0050 to 228-0052: Customs-based price indexes, Canada and United States trade, and Standard International Trade Classification (SITC revision 3) price indexes for all countries and the United States; monthly, quarterly, and annual.

Tables 228-0053 to 228-0055: Price and volume indexes, customs and balance of payments basis, by sector and sub-sector, for all countries; monthly, quarterly, and annual.

Tables 228-0056 and 228-0057: Balance of payments basis, by sector, seasonally adjusted, Fisher formula, chained 2002 dollars, for all countries; monthly and quarterly.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 2201, 2202 and 2203.

These data are available in the Canadian international merchandise trade database.

The July 2010 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 64, no. 7 (65-001-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website, under Publications.

Current account data (which incorporate merchandise trade statistics, service transactions, investment income and transfers) are available quarterly in Canada's Balance of International Payments (67-001-X, free).

Data on Canadian international merchandise trade for August will be released on October 14.

For more information, contact Sharon Nevins (toll-free 1-800-294-5583; 613-951-9798; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mychèle Gagnon (613-951-0994), International Trade Division.

Table 1

Merchandise trade: Principal trading areas
  July 2009 June 2010r July 2010 June to July 2010 July 2009 to July 2010
  Seasonally adjusted, $ current
  $ millions % change
Principal trading areas          
United States 22,541 24,827 24,282 -2.2 7.7
Japan 760 852 854 0.2 12.4
European Union1 2,598 2,492 2,940 18.0 13.2
Other OECD countries2 1,609 1,395 1,308 -6.2 -18.7
All other countries 3,541 3,478 3,420 -1.7 -3.4
Total 31,048 33,044 32,804 -0.7 5.7
United States 20,529 22,463 23,115 2.9 12.6
Japan 759 950 792 -16.6 4.3
European Union1 3,101 3,056 3,142 2.8 1.3
Other OECD countries2 2,359 2,283 2,376 4.1 0.7
All other countries 5,203 6,106 6,113 0.1 17.5
Total 31,952 34,858 35,539 2.0 11.2
United States 2,012 2,364 1,167 ... ...
Japan 1 -98 62 ... ...
European Union1 -503 -564 -202 ... ...
Other OECD countries2 -750 -888 -1,068 ... ...
All other countries -1,662 -2,628 -2,693 ... ...
Total -904 -1,814 -2,735 ... ...
not applicable
The European Union includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) include Australia, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland and Turkey.
Totals may not equal the sum of their components.

Table 2

Merchandise trade: Principal commodity groupings
  July 2009 June 2010r July 2010 June to July 2010 July 2009 to July 2010
  Seasonally adjusted, $ current
  $ millions % change
Agricultural and fishing products 3,060 3,020 3,020 0.0 -1.3
Energy products 6,658 6,933 6,878 -0.8 3.3
Forestry products 1,579 1,897 1,797 -5.3 13.8
Industrial goods and materials 6,462 7,365 7,534 2.3 16.6
Machinery and equipment 6,994 6,504 6,378 -1.9 -8.8
Automotive products 3,882 5,164 5,161 -0.1 32.9
Other consumer goods 1,466 1,376 1,275 -7.3 -13.0
Special transactions trade1 513 381 294 -22.8 -42.7
Other balance of payments adjustments 434 403 466 15.6 7.4
Total 31,048 33,044 32,804 -0.7 5.7
Agricultural and fishing products 2,441 2,388 2,444 2.3 0.1
Energy products 3,135 2,986 3,342 11.9 6.6
Forestry products 190 232 235 1.3 23.7
Industrial goods and materials 5,898 7,553 7,318 -3.1 24.1
Machinery and equipment 9,257 9,684 9,809 1.3 6.0
Automotive products 5,212 5,998 6,169 2.9 18.4
Other consumer goods 4,766 4,855 4,828 -0.6 1.3
Special transactions trade1 395 420 648 54.3 64.1
Other balance of payments adjustments 659 742 746 0.5 13.2
Total 31,952 34,858 35,539 2.0 11.2
These are mainly low valued transactions, value of repairs to equipment, and goods returned to country of origin.
Totals may not equal the sum of their components.