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Canada's merchandise exports rose 9.7% to $37.8 billion in December, led by a 16.5% gain in volumes of energy products. Export volumes, up 6.6%, increased in most sectors. Prices rose 2.9%. Both volumes and prices have risen in eight of the past 12 months.

Energy products accounted for over half the growth in the value of exports, followed by industrial goods and materials, which reached a record high. Notable increases were also recorded in exports of machinery and equipment, agricultural and fishing products as well as forestry products.

The value of imports edged up 0.7% to $34.8 billion. Import prices rose 0.4%, following four months of decline, while volumes increased 0.3%.

All import sectors except other consumer goods posted gains in December. The main sources of growth were energy products, agricultural and fishing products as well as automotive products.

As a result, Canada's trade balance with the world went from a deficit of $115 million in November to a surplus of $3.0 billion in December, the first trade surplus since February 2010.

On the strength of energy products, exports to the United States rose 10.8% to $26.7 billion, the highest value since November 2008, while imports were up 2.3%. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States increased from $3.0 billion in November to $5.1 billion in December, the largest trade surplus since October 2008.

Exports to countries other than the United States grew 7.3%, the sixth consecutive monthly gain, while imports declined 1.9%. Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States declined from $3.1 billion in November to $2.1 billion in December.

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 (mostly in the energy sector), 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.