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  1. Canada’s merchandise exports and imports both advanced in December on the strength of automotive products. Exports rose 1.7% and imports increased 1.8%. As a result, Canada’s trade deficit with the world widened to $246 million in December from $201 million in November.
  2. Exports grew to $32.2 billion from $31.7 billion in November. This fourth consecutive monthly gain was due to a 2.1% increase in volumes, while prices fell 0.4%. Automotive products were responsible for nearly two-thirds of the growth followed by machinery and equipment and energy products. Industrial goods and materials declined in December.
  3. Since May, with the exception of August, exports have been on the rise. However, export value for December 2009 remained 8.0% below the value of December 2008.
  4. Imports increased to $32.4 billion from $31.9 billion in November, the result of volumes rising 1.1% and prices increasing 0.7%. For the second consecutive month, automotive products led the gain, representing more than half the growth in imports in December. Industrial goods and materials and energy products also increased while machinery and equipment decreased during the month.
  5. The gain in imports in December represented the second consecutive monthly increase. Overall, imports remained 9.1% below the level registered in December 2008.
  6. Led by passenger cars, exports to the United States rose 2.9%, to $24.1 billion, surpassing the 2.0% gain in imports. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States grew to $3.7 billion in December from $3.4 billion in November.
  7. Exports to countries other than the United States fell 1.8% while imports from these countries increased 1.5%. Consequently, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States widened to $3.9 billion in December from $3.6 billion in November.

Note to readers

Merchandise trade is one component of Canada's international balance of payments, 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 balance of payments 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. Balance of payments data are derived from customs data by making adjustments for characteristics 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.

Revisions

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 based data. Revisions to customs based data for the previous year are released on a quarterly basis. Revisions to balance of payments based data for the three previous years are released annually in June.

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