Canada Posts First Trade Surplus Since September 2014


Canada's trade balance posted a surplus of CAD 0.53 billion in November of 2016, following a downwardly revised CAD 1.02 billion shortfall in the previous month and beating market expectations of a CAD 1.6 billion deficit. It was the first trade surplus since September 2014, as exports rose 4.3 percent, boosted by sales of metal and non-metallic mineral products. Imports increased 0.7 percent.

Exports increased to  CAD 45.6 billion in November, the highest level since the record CAD 45.7 billion in January 2016. Export volumes rose 3.5 percent and prices were up 0.8 percent. Overall, 10 of 11 sections increased. In November, exports excluding energy products were up 4.7 percent. 

Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 10.6 percent to CAD 5.3 billion in November, the highest value since December 2014. Exports of unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys led the gain, up 24.3 percent to CAD 1.9 billion on larger shipments to Hong Kong and Switzerland. For the section as a whole, volumes rose 6.2 percent and prices 4.1 percent.

Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals rose 26.4 percent to CAD 1.7 billion in November, with widespread increases throughout the section. Exports of potash increased 38.3 percent to CAD 431 million on higher volumes. Exports of iron ores and concentrates also contributed to the gain, up 43 percent to CAD 396 million, as prices rose 25.7 percent. Overall, volumes increased 15 percent and prices were up 9.9 percent.

Exports to countries other than the United States rose 9.5 percent to a record CAD 12.0 billion in November, surpassing the previous record set in December 2011. This was also the largest monthly percentage increase since May 2008. Exports to China were up 11.1 percent to CAD 2.0 billion in November, mostly on higher exports of coal. Exports to South Korea, Brazil and Japan also increased in November.

Total imports were up to CAD 45.1 billion in November, with 7 of 11 sections recording gains. Prices increased 1 percent, while volumes were down 0.3 percent. Higher imports of energy products and consumer goods were mostly offset by lower imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts, and motor vehicles and parts. Year over year, total imports declined 0.8 percent.

Imports from countries other than the United States were up 3.5 percent to CAD 15.6 billion in November. This increase was largely led by higher imports of crude oil from Norway, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. Lower imports from China partially offset these gains. Consequently, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from CAD 4.2 billion in October to CAD 3.7 billion in November, the smallest deficit since November 2014.

Exports to the United States also rose in November, up 2.5 percent to CAD 33.7 billion, while imports from the United States were down 0.7 percent to CAD 29.5 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States widened from CAD 3.2 billion in October to CAD 4.2 billion in November, the largest surplus since June 2015.

Statistics Canada | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
1/6/2017 2:09:43 PM