Canadian Trade Surplus Beats Expectations In December


Canada's merchandise trade surplus narrowed to CAD 0.92 billion in December 2016 from an upwardly revised CAD 1.01 billion a month earlier, but better than market expectations of a CAD 0.35 billion surplus. Exports were up 0.8 percent on the strength of higher energy product prices; and imports increased 1 percent, mainly on stronger imports of aircraft and industrial machinery.

Exports rose 0.8 percent to a record CAD 46.4 billion in December, as higher sales of energy products were partially offset by lower exports of motor vehicles and parts; metal ores and non-metallic minerals; and metal and non-metallic mineral products. It was the third consecutive monthly gain in exports. Exports excluding energy products were down 2.1 percent. 

Energy product exports rose 15.9 percent to CAD 8.5 billion, the highest value since November 2014. Crude oil and crude bitumen was the main contributor to the increase, up 17.2 percent to CAD 5.7 billion on higher prices. Partially offsetting this increase were lower exports of motor vehicles and parts, down 5.2 percent to CAD 7.4 billion, the lowest level since June 2015. Also, exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals decreased 12.6 percent to CAD 1.4 billion. 

Among major trading partners, exports rose to the US (0.8 percent), China (3.2 percent), the UK (2.8 percent) and Mexico (0.4 percent).

Total imports were up 1 percent to CAD 45.5 billion, as higher imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts; industrial machinery, equipment and parts; and metal and non-metallic mineral products were partially offset by lower imports of energy products. 

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts increased 21.8 percent to CAD 1.5 billion; industrial machinery, equipment and parts rose 6.4 percent to CAD 4.3 billion with all commodity groupings recording gains; and imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products went up 6.3 percent to CAD 3.9 billion. Partially offsetting these gains were lower imports of energy products, down 11.9 percent to CAD 2.2 billion.

Among major trading partners, imports increased from the US (1.3 percent), China (1.6 percent), Germany (2.1 percent) and Mexico (14.7 percent).

Considering 2016 full year, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world widened to CAD 26.1 billion from CAD 23.0 billion in 2015, as exports fell 0.7 percent to CAD 521.1 billion, dragged by lower exports of energy products; while imports edged down 0.1 percent to CAD 547.2 billion, due to fewer purchases of energy products; aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts; and metal and non-metallic mineral products.

Statistics Canada | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
2/7/2017 2:00:19 PM