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Canadian international merchandise trade, July 2015

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Released: 2015-09-03

Canada's exports rose 2.3% in July and were concentrated in non-energy products. Exports excluding energy products rose 4.0%. Overall, export prices grew 1.3% while export volumes advanced 1.0%.

On the other side of the ledger, imports were up 1.7%. Import demand was widespread among commodities in July. Import prices were up 1.3% and volumes 0.5%.

As a result, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed from $811 million in June to $593 million in July.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Merchandise exports and imports
Merchandise exports and imports

Non-US countries lead reduction in overall trade deficit

Exports to countries other than the United States were up 2.9% to $10.7 billion in July, led by an 11.7% increase in exports to China. Meanwhile, imports from countries other than the United States decreased 3.1% to $15.1 billion. Imports from the United Kingdom were down 40.2%. Consequently, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $5.2 billion in June to $4.4 billion in July.

Exports to the United States increased 2.1% to $34.7 billion. At the same time, imports from the United States rose 4.3% to $30.9 billion. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $4.4 billion in June to $3.8 billion in July.

Motor vehicles and parts lead export gains

Total exports rose to $45.5 billion in July, just under their previous record of $45.6 billion in July 2014, as 5 of 11 sections increased. Motor vehicles and parts, consumer goods, as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts accounted for the gain in July. The gains in these sections were partially offset by a decrease in energy products. Year over year, total exports were down 0.2%.

Exports of motor vehicles and parts increased 9.9% to $7.6 billion in July. The main contributor was passenger cars and light trucks, which rose 14.9% to $4.9 billion, as scheduled shutdowns at several automotive plants were shorter than usual for July. Overall, volumes increased 6.5% and prices 3.2%.

Exports of consumer goods were up 7.3% to a record $6.4 billion. Prices rose 5.9% and volumes 1.4%. Exports of miscellaneous goods and supplies increased $619 million to $1.4 billion in July; the growth in this commodity grouping was led by "articles of precious metal."

Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts rose 19.2% to $2.4 billion. There were higher exports of aircraft (+29.5%) and aircraft engines and aircraft parts (+14.4%).

These increases were partially offset by a 5.7% decline in energy products to $7.3 billion. The main contributors were crude oil and crude bitumen (-6.2%) and refined petroleum energy products (-15.1%). For the section as a whole, prices fell 6.9% while volumes increased 1.3%. Year over year, exports of energy products fell 34.6%.

Volumes of energy product imports advance

Total imports grew to $46.1 billion in July, as 8 of 11 sections advanced. Higher imports of energy products, aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts, as well as electronic and electrical equipment and parts were partially offset by a decline in metal and non-metallic mineral products. Year over year, total imports were up 5.8%.

Imports of energy products advanced 12.8% to $3.0 billion. Volumes rose 17.8% while prices declined 4.3%. In July, imports of crude oil and crude bitumen rose 26.1% to $1.7 billion.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts were up 22.9% to $1.7 billion. Following a decline in June, aircraft imports rose by $261 million to reach $369 million in July.

Electronic and electrical equipment and parts increased 4.4% to $5.5 billion. The main contributor was communications and audio and video equipment, up 11.7% to a record $2.0 billion. Overall, volumes grew 2.5% and prices 1.9%.

These increases were moderated by lower imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products, which declined 9.6% to $3.6 billion on lower volumes. Imports of unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys were down 41.7% to $531 million in July, following two consecutive monthly increases.

Revisions to June imports and exports

Revisions reflect initial estimates being updated or replaced with administrative and survey data as they became available, as well as corrections made for late documentation of high-value transactions. June's imports, originally reported as $45.1 billion in last month's release, were revised to $45.3 billion with the current month release. Exports, originally reported as $44.6 billion in last month's release, were revised to $44.5 billion.

Chart 2  Chart 2: International merchandise trade balance
International merchandise trade balance

  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 trade data by commodity are available on both a BOP and a customs basis. International trade data by country are available on a customs basis for all countries, and on a BOP basis for Canada's 27 principal trading partners (PTPs). The list of PTPs is based on their annual share of total merchandise trade—imports and exports—with Canada in 2012. 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.

For a BOP versus customs-based data conceptual analysis, see "Balance of Payments trade in goods at Statistics Canada: Expanding geographic detail to 27 principal trading partners."

Data in this release are on a BOP basis, seasonally adjusted and in current dollars. Constant dollars are calculated using the Laspeyres volume formula (2007=100).

For more information on seasonal adjustment, see "Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions."


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 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, March and April reference months. To remain consistent with the Canadian System of macroeconomic accounts, revisions to BOP based data for previous years are released annually in December with the October 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 section with actual figures, changes in classification of merchandise based on more current information, and changes to seasonal adjustment factors.

For more information on revisions for crude oil and natural gas, see "Revisions to trade data for crude oil and natural gas."

Revised data are available in the appropriate CANSIM tables.

Real-time CANSIM tables

CANSIM table 228-8059 will be updated on September 15. For more information, consult the document "Real-time CANSIM tables."

Next release

Data on Canadian international merchandise trade for August will be released on October 6.


Customs based data are now available in the Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database (Catalogue number65F0013X). From the Browse by key resource module of our website, choose Publications.

The July 2015 issue of Canadian International Merchandise Trade, Vol. 69, no. 7 (Catalogue number65-001-X), is also available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Nita Boushey (613-404-4965;, International Accounts and Trade Division.

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