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Canada’s merchandise exports rose 5.2% in May, led by higher volumes of automotive products while imports increased 5.7%, reflecting broad-based gains in volumes. Canada posted a trade deficit with the world of $503 million in May, compared to a deficit of $330 million in April.

Exports rose to $34.5 billion in May from $32.8 billion in April, following two months of decline. While all the export sectors experienced gains, automotive products accounted for over half the growth.

Export volumes increased 3.9% and prices grew 1.2%. Export volumes have been trending upwards since the low reached in May 2009.

Imports rose to $35.0 billion from $33.1 billion in April, as all import sectors, except agricultural and fishing products, grew in May. Machinery and equipment, industrial goods and materials as well as other consumer goods led the gain in imports.

Import volumes increased 4.2% while prices grew 1.4%. Import volumes, up for a fourth consecutive month, have been trending upward since March 2009.

Exports to the United States increased 5.5% while imports grew 5.8%, both on the strength of automotive products trade. Overall, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States widened to $3.6 billion in May from $3.5 billion in April.

Exports to countries other than the United States, led by a 25.2% increase in exports to the European Union, grew 4.4% while imports rose 5.5%. As a result, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States expanded to $4.1 billion in May from $3.8 billion in April.

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.


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.