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Imports decline as volumes down in every sector

After four consecutive monthly increases, imports of industrial goods and materials fell 7.4% to $7.9 billion in August. Decreases in the value of imports were widespread throughout this sector. The largest factor was an 11.6% decline in imports of metals and metal ores, mainly precious metals and alloys.

Imports of machinery and equipment decreased 3.8% to $10.4 billion, as volumes and prices fell. The decline was led by other machinery and equipment, down 5.6% to $5.0 billion.

Imports of automotive products declined 3.3% to $6.7 billion in August, as volumes and prices fell 1.9% and 1.4% respectively. The decrease in the sector was largely the result of lower imports of motor vehicle parts as well as trucks and other motor vehicles.

On the strength of crude petroleum, the energy products sector grew 6.1% to $4.1 billion, and partially offset the decline in overall imports. Crude petroleum rose 15.4% to $2.6 billion, as a result of higher volumes and prices. Imports of petroleum and coal products fell 5.5% to $1.2 billion, on lower volumes.

Industrial goods and materials largest contributor to the decline in exports

Exports of industrial goods and material fell 6.1% to $8.8 billion, as decreases were recorded throughout the sector. The biggest factors were exports of fertilizers and fertilizer materials (-22.3%) and iron ores, concentrates and scrap (-26.8%) on lower volumes. A 13.3% increase in exports of precious metals and alloys partially offset the decrease.

Exports of automotive products declined 2.3% to $5.7 billion in August. Motor vehicle parts fell 6.0% to $1.5 billion, mainly on lower volumes.

Exports of energy products rose 5.5% to $8.6 billion, halting six consecutive monthly decreases. Exports of crude petroleum, the main contributor, increased 9.1% to $5.5 billion mostly on higher prices. Also, petroleum and coal products rose 10.6%. These gains were partially offset by the fourth consecutive monthly decline in exports of coal and other bituminous substances.

Exports of agricultural and fishing products grew 6.5% to $3.6 billion. The main factor was wheat exports, which rose 57.5% as volumes were up for the first time in four months.

Note: 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 BOP based data.

The previous year's customs data are revised with the release of the January and February reference months as well as on a quarterly basis. The previous two years of customs based data are revised annually and are released in February with the December reference month.

The previous year's BOP based data were revised with the release of the January, February, March and April 2012 reference months.

Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of import and export documentation, incorrect information on customs forms, replacement of estimates produced for the energy sector 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, free of charge.