Canadian international merchandise trade

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July 2011 (Previous release)

Canada's merchandise exports rose 2.2% and imports edged up 0.5% in July. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed from $1.4 billion in June to $753 million in July.

Exports and imports

Chart description: Exports and imports

Exports increased to $37.3 billion, as volumes rose in most sectors. Overall, volumes rose 4.1%, while prices declined 1.9%. Machinery and equipment, automotive products, and industrial goods and materials were the main contributors to the gain in the value of exports.

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 BOP 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.

Imports grew slightly to $38.0 billion as prices increased 0.9% and volumes decreased 0.4%. In July, imports from Japan surpassed $800 million, a level similar to those observed prior to the earthquake and tsunami in March.

Imports from the United States rose 3.1% to $23.6 billion in July. Exports were up 2.1% to $27.0 billion. Canada's trade surplus with the United States went from $3.5 billion in June to $3.4 billion in July.

Imports from countries other than the United States fell 3.6% to $14.4 billion. Exports to countries other than the United States increased 2.4% to $10.3 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $4.9 billion in June to $4.1 billion in July.

Trade balance

Chart description: Trade balance

Exports rise in most sectors

Exports of machinery and equipment increased for a third straight month, rising 5.5% to $6.8 billion in July. Volumes were up 5.3%. Leading the gain in value were aircraft, engines and parts, up 16.1%; and telecommunication equipment, which increased 12.6%.

Exports of automotive products rose 7.6% to $4.9 billion, on the strength of higher volumes. Passenger autos and chassis was the main contributor to the gains in this sector.

Exports of industrial goods and materials increased for a third consecutive month, up 2.8% to $9.9 billion in July. Metal ores rose 48.1% to reach a record high of $1.6 billion, led by copper ores, concentrates and scrap; and nickel ores, concentrates and scrap. Partially offsetting this increase was a 10.4% decline in chemicals, plastics and fertilizers, largely as a result of lower exports of fertilizers and fertilizer materials.

Exports of energy products decreased 2.1% to $8.4 billion in July, as both prices and volumes declined. Crude petroleum exports, which were down for a fourth consecutive month, accounted for the decline.

Machinery and equipment moderates the rise in imports

Imports of automotive products increased 5.8% to $6.1 billion in July, with gains in all sub-sectors. Volumes rose 6.6% while prices declined 0.7%.

Imports of energy products grew 6.1% to $4.3 billion. Crude petroleum imports rose 44.0% as some refineries resumed production. Following record levels of imports in June, petroleum and coal products, namely light oils and preparations, declined 28.5%.

Imports of industrial goods and materials fell 1.5% to $8.1 billion in July, as a result of widespread declines. Metals in ores, concentrates and scrap; and organic chemicals were the main contributors to this decrease.

Machinery and equipment fell 5.3% to $10.2 billion, as volumes declined. After reaching a record level in June, imports of industrial and agriculture machinery decreased in July.

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 July 2011 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 65, 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 13.

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.