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Experimental monthly estimates of international trade in services, September 2019

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Released: 2019-11-19

Experimental estimates of Canada's international trade in services are now available upon request. This release includes data for September, as well as revised data for January 2007 to August 2019.

In September, imports of services fell $458 million to $11.9 billion. Exports declined $178 million to $10.8 billion. As a result, Canada's estimated monthly deficit in international trade in services narrowed by $280 million to $1.1 billion. The narrowing deficit was mainly due to a higher surplus for commercial services as well as a smaller deficit for travel services, a trend which has been observed since the start of 2019.

The decrease in imports was a result of lower payments in all categories of services, with travel services and commercial services contributing the most to the overall decline. The decline in travel services was mainly due to lower spending by Canadians travelling abroad.

The decrease in exports occurred as lower receipts of commercial services and travel services were reported for September.

In comparison, total imports of goods were $50.8 billion in September, while exports totalled $49.8 billion, resulting in a goods deficit of $978 million. When combined, the trade balance for goods and services amounted to a deficit of $2.0 billion in September, down $537 million from August.

The services trade deficit for August, first reported at $1.8 billion, was revised down by $477 million this month. Exports of services for August were revised up by $366 million, while imports were revised down by $111 million. Travel services accounted for most of these revisions.

  Note to readers

Data availability

This is the last month for which experimental estimates will be published approximately 60 days after the end of the reference month. Starting with the December 5th release of October data, estimates will be disseminated at the same time as the monthly Canadian international merchandise trade figures, about 35 days after the end of the reference period. New data tables will also be available at that time through Statistics Canada's website.

These monthly trade in services estimates are available on a raw and on a seasonally adjusted basis for four principal categories of international services at the total country level: commercial services, travel, transport and government services.

The purpose of this new product is to provide more timely indicators on trade in services, supplementing the detailed quarterly and annual statistics on trade in services already included in the balance of payments. It will also provide a more comprehensive picture of Canada's overall international trade activity on a monthly basis, complementing the already published information on goods.


This release integrates revisions to international travel services from January 2007. Revisions result from expanded travel survey coverage, including the use of more accurate data on education-related international travel, as well as other improvements in methodology related to international travel services. This month's release also includes revisions made to commercial, transportation, and government services from 2016, reflecting the newest annual benchmark surveys. These revisions will also be integrated into Canada's national and international accounts at the end of November 2019. For more information about revisions to international travel services, please consult A preview of the 2019 revision of the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts, released in May 2019.


Because several data sources used in the compilation of the international trade in services program are only available on a quarterly or an annual basis, the monthly statistics on Canada's international trade in services are generated using models in cases where up-to-date information is not available. This is in keeping with the methodology used in many countries that produce monthly trade in services data.

In general, for most of the commercial services, travel, and some of the transport services, the modelling of monthly estimates follows a three-step approach. First, values for the upcoming quarter are estimated using statistical models (auto-regressive integrated moving average). Then, in a second step, indicator series proxying the monthly movement of trade in services are identified through relationships with other economic indicators, such as merchandise trade or gross domestic product by industry. Finally, a temporal disaggregation method (referred to as the Denton-Cholette method) is applied to distribute modelled quarterly services on a monthly basis using the predicted values of monthly services generated in the second step. Adjustments are made each month as new information is made available.

A more detailed description of estimation methodology for monthly trade in services is available upon request.


The updated Canada and the World Statistics Hub (Catalogue number13-609-X) is available online. This product illustrates the nature and extent of Canada's economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive graphs and tables. This product provides easy access to information on trade, investment, employment and travel between Canada and a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China and Japan.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available. This publication will be updated to maintain its relevance.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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