Canada’s international merchandise trade, December 2012 statistics

Canada’s merchandise imports fell 2.8% in December and exports declined 0.9%, resulting in a decrease of our trade deficit with the world from $1.7 billion in November to $901 million in December.

Imports fell to $38.5 billion, as volumes decreased 2.7%. Imports were down in most sectors, the largest decrease being in basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products. Exports declined to $37.6 billion as volumes fell 2.1%. Decreases in exports of energy products as well as motor vehicles and parts were partly offset by an increase in metal ores and non-metallic minerals. 

Exports to the United States fell 4% to $27.6 billion, mainly due to lower exports of motor vehicles and parts. Imports from the United States decreased 3.3% to $24.1 billion. Consequently, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $3.8 billion in November to $3.5 billion in December. Exports to countries other than the United States rose 8.5% to $10 billion while imports declined 2% to $14.5 billion. Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States therefore decreased from $5.5 billion to $4.4 billion.

Widespread declines in import volumes

Imports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products fell 9.7% to $2.9 billion, as declines occurred throughout the sector, the main contributor to the decrease being imports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products, which fell 43.8%. Imports of motor vehicles and parts declined 3.9% to $6.6 billion, as the holiday season plant shutdowns were longer than in previous years. Motor vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts fell 8.6% to $2.7 billion, the largest decrease in the sector. Imports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts decreased 6.8%. Contributing the most to the decline were imports of logging, mining and construction machinery, which fell 18.9%. This was the sixth consecutive monthly decrease for this group following a record high in June. Metal ores and non-metallic minerals fell 19% to $786 million, after three consecutive monthly increases. This decline was led by a 20.5% decrease in imports of metal ores and concentrates, primarily lead and zinc ores and concentrates. Increased in volumes and prices pushed imports of energy products up 5.1% to $3.8 billion. Crude oil and crude bitumen were the main contributors to the gain, rising 7.4% to $2.6 billion.

Energy products leads decline in exports

Following four consecutive monthly increases, exports of energy products fell 6.9% to $8 billion, the main contributor to the decline being crude oil and crude bitumen, followed by natural gas, and other energy products, primarily coal. Exports of motor vehicles and parts decreased 6.8% to $5.6 billion. Exports of passenger cars and light trucks, which fell 10.5% to $3.8 billion, accounted for the majority of the decrease. Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals rose 26.3% to $1.7 billion. Leading the gain were exports of copper ores and concentrates, as well as potash. Metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 7.7% to $4.6 billion, gains being widespread throughout the section. Exports of unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys rose 15.3% to $1.5 billion.

How about South of the border ?

Statistics just released  by the U.S. Census Bureau show December exports of $186.4 billion and imports of $224.9 billion, resulting in a goods and services deficit for the United States of $38.5 billion, down from $48.6 billion in November. U.S. December exports were 2.1% higher than November’s, while imports were 2.7% down.

And how about Canada’s trade with Belgium?

Regarding trade with Belgium, Canadian exports went from $221 million in October, down to $121 million in November and back up to $140 million in December.  Canadian imports from Belgium, on the other hand, went from $117 million in October, up to $159 million in November and back down to $ 107 million in November.  Our bilateral trade, with peaks and valleys, remain in favour of Canada.

Christian Sivière, Montréal All Rights Reserved  February 2013 Source: Statistics Canada, U.S. Census Bureau

Canada’s Exports and imports, December 2012

Canada’s Exports and imports, December 2012