Canadian international merchandise trade

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June 2011 (Previous release)

Canada's merchandise exports fell 1.7% in June while imports decreased 0.2%. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world widened from $1.0 billion in May to $1.6 billion in June.

Exports and imports

Chart description: Exports and imports

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 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 balance of payments basis, seasonally adjusted in current dollars. Constant dollars are calculated using the Laspeyres volume formula.

New aggregation structure

Statistics Canada will introduce a new aggregation structure, the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS), to organize and present import and export statistics in various programs. The new structure will replace the classification structures known as the summary import groups (SIG) and the summary export groups (SEG) and the higher level aggregations; Major Groups, Subsectors, Sectors and Sections that have been in use for several decades. The first release of data using the new structure will be on June 8, 2012 for the April reference month.

Readers interested in this upcoming change can find more detailed information on our website page dedicated to classification consultation and notification.

Exports fell to $36.5 billion, largely the result of declines in energy products and automotive products. Volumes, which decreased 2.2%, were down in five out of seven sectors. Prices increased 0.5% and were up in all sectors except energy products.

Merchandise imports declined to $38.0 billion, led by energy products. Overall, prices fell 2.1% and volumes increased 1.9%.

Exports to the United States declined 2.4% to $26.5 billion in June, while imports fell 2.3% to $22.8 billion. Canada's trade surplus with the United States went from $3.7 billion in May to $3.6 billion in June.

Imports from countries other than the United States increased 3.1% to a record high of $15.2 billion. Exports to countries other than the United States edged up 0.3% to $10.0 billion. Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States widened from $4.8 billion in May to a record $5.2 billion in June.

Trade balance

Chart description: Trade balance

Exports: Declines in energy products and automotive products

Exports of energy products declined 5.1% to $8.7 billion in June, the result of lower volumes and prices. The main contributors to this decrease were petroleum and coal products as well as crude petroleum.

Exports of automotive products fell 5.3% to $4.5 billion, largely the result of a 6.8% decline in passenger autos and chassis. The latter decrease was due to a 7.7% drop in volume in passenger autos and chassis.

Exports of agricultural and fishing products declined 2.3% to $3.2 billion in June. The decline was led by lower exports of other cereals unmilled, such as corn to Spain and Egypt, and canola to Japan.

Industrial goods and materials exports increased 0.9% to $9.5 billion in June, on the strength of metals and alloys, and chemicals, plastics and fertilizers. These increases were partially offset by a decline in exports of metal ores, mainly nickel ores, concentrates and scrap.

Imports: Energy products main factor in decline

Imports of energy products declined 11.7% to $4.2 billion in June. Volumes were down 6.1% while prices fell 6.0%. Crude petroleum imports fell 22.1%, largely because of timing of shipment and plant shutdowns for maintenance.

Imports of industrial goods and materials declined 0.5% to $8.2 billion in June. Imports of chemicals and plastics fell 2.6% while other industrial goods and materials declined 1.2%. Partially offsetting this decline was an increase in metals and metal ores, which reached a record high of $3.5 billion.

Imports of machinery and equipment increased for a fourth consecutive month, rising 2.5% to $10.6 billion in June. Leading this gain was industrial and agricultural machinery, in particular drilling and mining machinery.

Imports of other consumer goods increased 2.1% to $5.0 billion; the main contributor was apparel and footwear.

Note: 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 (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. Revisions to BOP based data for the previous three years are released annually in June with the April reference month.

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

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 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 June 2011 issue of Canadian international merchandise trade, Vol. 65, no. 6 (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 July will be released on September 8.

For further information, contact the National Contact Centre (613-951-8116; toll-free 1-800-263-1136; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Marc Nadeau (613-951-3692), International Trade Division.