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Canada's merchandise imports fell 3.1% and exports edged down 0.1% in August. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed from $2.5 billion in July to $1.3 billion in August.

Imports fell to $38.8 billion as declines occurred in every sector, except energy products. Volumes, which fell in every sector, were down 2.2% in August.

Exports amounted to $37.5 billion as a decrease in prices offset an increase in volumes. The largest decline occurred in exports of industrial goods and materials, while exports of energy products increased after six consecutive monthly declines.

Imports from the United States fell 4.3% to $24.2 billion, while exports rose 1.4% to $27.6 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States increased from $2.0 billion in July to $3.5 billion in August.

Exports to countries other than the United States fell 3.9% to $9.8 billion, mainly the result of a 19.5% decline in exports to Japan. Imports from countries other than the United States declined 1.0% to $14.6 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States increased from $4.5 billion in July to $4.8 billion in August.

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 as well as capital and financial flows.

International merchandise trade data by country are available on both a BOP 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. BOP data are derived from customs data by making adjustments 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.

Data in this release are on a BOP basis, seasonally adjusted and in current dollars. Constant dollars are calculated using the Laspeyres volume formula.

For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

New aggregation structure

Statistics Canada will introduce the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) for merchandise import and export statistics. The new structure will replace the classification structures known as the summary import groups (SIG) and the summary export groups (SEG) and the higher level aggregations (major groups, subsectors, sectors and sections) that have been in use for several decades.

This month's release is the last data release based on the SIG and SEG classification structure. As of November 8 (September reference month), international merchandise trade data release will be based on NAPCS.

Revised data based on NAPCS for the reference period of January 1988 to August 2012 will be disseminated on October 18.

Readers interested in this upcoming change can find more detailed information on our web page dedicated to classification consultation and notification.