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Analysis

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Widespread increases in exports

All export sectors grew in August with the exception of automotive products. Exports of industrial goods and materials grew 5.8% to $8.0 billion, a second consecutive monthly increase. The growth in the sector was largely the result of a 4.4% increase in prices, mostly reflecting higher prices for gold and metal ores. Precious metals increased 21.9%, followed by copper ores and nickel ores. Fertilizers and fertilizer materials also recorded solid gains.

Exports of other consumer goods rose 26.8% to $1.6 billion following a 9.2% decline in July. The increase was a result of a 25.9% gain in volumes. Medicinal and pharmaceutical products in dosage largely accounted for the advance in the sector.

In the machinery and equipment sector, exports increased 2.2% to $6.5 billion, the highest level since July 2009. The increase reflected a 4.8% rise in volumes, as prices fell 2.4%. Prices of machinery and equipment have been on a downward trend since March 2009. Within the sector, the main contributors to the rise in exports were aircrafts, engines and parts, telecommunication equipment and industrial machinery.

Exports of automotive products totalled $5.2 billion in August, virtually unchanged from July. A strong increase in exports of passenger autos was offset by declines in exports of motor vehicle parts and trucks and other motor vehicles. Export volumes rose 1.3% as prices fell.

Automotive products lead the decline in imports

Imports of automotive products fell 6.5% to $5.8 billion, as volumes decreased 6.1%. Imports of passenger autos, which declined 12.9%, represented over two-thirds of the decrease in the sector. Lower imports from overseas mainly accounted for the decline in imports of passenger autos. Imports of trucks and motor vehicle parts also fell during the month.

Imports of industrial goods and materials decreased 3.3% to $7.1 billion, led by a decline in imports of metal in ores, namely nickel ores and zinc ores. Precious metals also contributed to the decrease. Higher imports of other chemicals, such as fertilizers, moderated the decline. Prices of industrial goods and materials fell 3.4% in August.

Imports of other consumer goods rose 2.4% to $5.0 billion as a result of higher volumes. Increases throughout the sector were led by higher imports of miscellaneous end products such as articles for the Christmas season. Imports of apparel and accessories also grew.

Imports of energy products rose 2.5% in August to $3.4 billion, on the strength of coal and other related products, notably natural gas. Imports of crude petroleum as well as petroleum and coal products decreased after solid gains in July. Volumes of energy products rose 8.0%, while prices fell 5.1%.