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Canadian international merchandise trade, November 2022

Released: 2023-01-05

In November, Canada's merchandise exports decreased 2.3%, in large part because of a decline in exports of energy products. Meanwhile, imports were down 2.1%, partly on lower imports of consumer goods. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade balance with the world went from a surplus of $130 million in October to a deficit of $41 million in November. Merchandise trade was thus essentially in balance in November, with the deficit representing 0.03% of total merchandise trade for the month. These recent narrow trade balances are within the typical bounds for monthly revisions to imports and exports.

Consult the "International trade monthly interactive dashboard" to explore the most recent results of Canada's international trade in an interactive format.

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

Appreciation of the Canadian dollar impacts both import and export values in November

A large proportion of import and export transactions are completed in US dollars and must be converted to Canadian dollars to compile monthly trade statistics. When the Canadian dollar appreciates against the US dollar, converted monthly trade values in Canadian dollars are lower.

In November, following two months of declines, the average value of the Canadian dollar increased 1.4 cents US compared with the average value in October. This represents the largest monthly gain for the dollar since October 2021. When expressed in US dollars, Canadian exports were down 0.5% in November, and imports decreased 0.2%.

Broad declines in exports of energy products

Total exports fell 2.3% in November to $64.4 billion. Declines were observed in 8 of the 11 product sections, with exports of energy products leading the decreases. Excluding energy products, exports were down 1.5%. In real (or volume) terms, total exports declined 1.4% in November.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Contribution to the monthly change in exports, by product, November 2022
Contribution to the monthly change in exports, by product, November 2022

Exports of energy products fell 4.7% in November, a fifth consecutive monthly decline. Notable decreases were observed in several subcategories. Coal (-24.3%) led the way, with lower exports to Asian countries. Lower prices were behind the decrease in natural gas exports (-13.1%), coinciding with relatively mild November temperatures in the United States, as well as rising production in that country. Crude oil and bitumen exports (-1.8%) also fell in November because of lower prices. Finally, exports of refined petroleum energy products (-7.9%) were down on lower exports of diesel fuel to the United States and Peru.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Exports of energy products
Exports of energy products

Exports of consumer goods were down 6.3% in November, with widespread declines observed throughout the product section. Following an 18.8% increase in October, exports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products were down 12.6% in November, notably on lower shipments of antibiotics and various other medications destined to the United States. Exports of meat products (-12.2%) also fell in November, in part because of a decrease in exports of pork to Asian countries. This decrease in pork exports to Asian countries came amid rising pork exports from the United States, as well as higher pork production in China following two years marked by outbreaks of African swine fever.

Exports of motor vehicles and parts fell 6.4% in November, the third decrease in four months. A sharp decline in exports of engines and parts (-19.7%) coincided with lower motor vehicle production in the United States in November.

Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-13.3%) were also down in November, mainly on lower exports of copper ores and concentrates. Exports of copper ores and concentrates were at their lowest level since April 2011, mainly because of shipping delays that were reported in November. Because the delays were temporary, these exports will likely rebound in future months.

Partially offsetting the overall export decrease, metal and non-metallic mineral product exports (+11.9%) rose in November following a sharp decline the previous month. As was the case in October, exports of unwrought gold, silver and platinum group metals and their alloys (+49.4%) were behind the movement in November. There were higher shipments of refined gold and gold assets to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the United States in November.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Imports and exports of unwrought gold, silver, and platinum group metals
Imports and exports of unwrought gold, silver, and platinum group metals

Imports of consumer goods decrease

Total imports decreased 2.1% in November to $64.4 billion. Declines were observed in 8 of the 11 product sections. In real (or volume) terms, total imports were down 0.7%, a third consecutive monthly decrease.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Contribution to the monthly change in imports, by product, November 2022
Contribution to the monthly change in imports, by product, November 2022

Following a 1.8% decline in October, imports of consumer goods were down 5.7% in November. As was the case in October, imports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products (-11.5%) decreased the most. In November, there was a decline in imports of drugs, notably for the treatment of COVID-19, as well as imports in the category "vaccines for human medicine other than for influenza," which includes COVID-19 vaccines. Imports of miscellaneous goods and supplies decreased 9.6% in November, partly because of lower imports of toys and games. Prior to November, imports of toys and games had been generally strong throughout 2022.

Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products decreased 7.9% in November, after rising by 7.0% in October. Imports of unwrought gold, silver, and platinum group metals and their alloys were the main contributor to the decline, with imports of gold assets from the United States being largely responsible for both monthly movements.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (-14.0%) also contributed to the decrease in total imports for November. Imports of aircraft, which are typically volatile, fell sharply, as high-value aircraft imports that were observed in October did not repeat in November.

Decline in imports from countries other than the United States

Imports from countries other than the United States decreased 5.3% in November, the strongest drop since January 2022. This decline was led by lower imports from China (various products), coinciding with the heightened COVID-19 restrictions that were in place in that country prior to a shift in policy that took place in December. There were also notable decreases in imports from Belgium (pharmaceutical products) and South Korea (various products).

Exports to countries other than the United States were down 1.3% in November. Decreases in exports to Japan (various products), China (copper, wheat, and pulse crops), South Korea (iron ores and copper ores) and other countries were partially offset by a strong increase in exports to the United Kingdom (gold).

Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $8.4 billion in October to $7.3 billion in November.

Exports to the United States decreased 2.6% in November, while imports from that country edged down 0.1%. As a result, the merchandise trade surplus with the United States narrowed for a sixth consecutive month, moving from $8.6 billion in October to $7.3 billion in November.

Chart 6  Chart 6: International merchandise trade balance
International merchandise trade balance

Revisions to October merchandise export and import data

Imports in October, originally reported at $65.8 billion in the previous release, were essentially unchanged in the current reference month. Exports in October, originally reported at $67.0 billion in the previous release, were revised to $65.9 billion in the current reference month's release, mainly because estimates for energy exports were replaced with actual data.

Monthly trade in services

In November, monthly service exports were up 2.0% to $14.1 billion. Meanwhile, service imports decreased 2.3% to $15.5 billion.

When international trade in goods and services were combined, exports decreased 1.6% to $78.5 billion in November, while imports were down 2.1% to $79.9 billion. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world went from $1.9 billion in October to $1.5 billion in November.

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

For more information on these and other macroeconomic concepts, see the Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) and the User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G).

The data in this release are on a BOP basis and are seasonally adjusted. Unless otherwise stated, values are expressed in nominal terms, or current dollars. References to prices are based on aggregate Paasche (current-weighted) price indexes (2012=100). Movements within aggregate Paasche prices can be influenced by changes in the share of values traded for specific goods, with sudden shifts in trading patterns—as observed currently with the COVID-19 pandemic—sometimes resulting in large movements in Paasche price indexes. Volumes, or constant dollars, are calculated using the Laspeyres formula (2012=100), unless otherwise stated.

For 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-based and the BOP-based data.

The previous year's customs-based data are revised with the release of data for the January and February reference months, and thereafter on a quarterly basis. The previous two years of customs-based data are revised annually, and revisions are released in February with the December reference month.

The previous year's BOP-based data are revised with the release of data for 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 the late receipt of import and export documentation, incorrect information on customs forms, the replacement of estimates produced for the energy section with actual figures, changes in merchandise classification based on more current information, and changes to seasonal adjustment factors. The seasonal adjustment parameters are reviewed and updated annually and applied with the October reference month release.

For information on data revisions for exports of energy products, see Methodology for Exports of Energy Products within the International Merchandise Trade Program.

Revised data are available in the appropriate tables.

Real-time data table

The real-time data table 12-10-0120-01 will be updated on January 16.

Next release

Data on Canadian international merchandise trade for December 2022 will be released on February 7, 2023.


The product "International trade monthly interactive dashboard" (Catalogue number71-607-X) is now available. This new interactive dashboard is a comprehensive analytical tool that presents monthly changes in Canada's international merchandise trade data on a balance-of-payments basis, fully supporting the information presented every month in the Daily release.

The product "The International Trade Explorer" (Catalogue number71-607-X) is now available online.

The Canadian International Merchandise Trade online database is no longer available. It has been replaced by the Canadian International Merchandise Trade Web Application (Catalogue number71-607-X), a modern tool that provides trade data users with a number of enhancements.

The updated "Canada and the World Statistics Hub" (Catalogue number13-609-X) is now available online. This product illustrates the nature and extent of Canada's economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive charts and tables. It 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, Japan, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

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 (

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