Canada’s international merchandise trade, October 2012, with a focus on trade with Belgium

This guest post by Christian Sivière, President at Solutions Import Export Logistique, comes from a recent article he published on Canada’s international trade, zooming in on trade with Belgium.  Reprinted with permission of the author.

Canada’s international merchandise trade, October 2012                                   Canada’s merchandise imports declined 1.2% while exports increased 1% in October, narrowing Canada’s trade deficit with the world narrowed from $1 billion in September to $169 million. Imports declined to $38.3 billion with volumes down 1.8%, as widespread decreases were recorded.  Exports increased to $38.1 billion, as both prices and volumes were up.  Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products lead the gains in exports, while metal ores and non-metallic minerals recorded the largest decline.

Imports from the United States rose 1.6% to $24.6 billionand exports edged down 0.2% to $27.4 billion, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States decreasing from $3.2 billion in September to $2.8 billion in October. Imports from countries other than the United States fell 5.8% to $13.7 billion. Exports rose 4.2% to $10.7 billion, mainly on higher exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products. Consequently, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States declined from $4.2 billion in September to $2.9 billion in October.

Widespread decreases in import volumes                                                          Imports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products fell 8.4% to $3 billion in October. A 39.4% decline in imports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products largely contributed to the overall decrease. Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products declined 5.7% to $3.4 billion. Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys, down 11%, was the main factor behind the decrease. Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts declined 3.1% to $4.3 billion in October, a fourth consecutive monthly decrease. Widespread decreases were registered throughout the section with communications and audio and video equipement posting the largest decline (-8.5%). Imports of consumer goods increased 1.6% to $7.7 billion in October, as volumes rose. Imports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products, up 10.8% to $1.2 billion, led the overal increase.

Farm, fishing and intermediate food products lead the increase in exports                                                                                                                             In October, exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products reached a record high of $2.8 billion, up 18.3%.  This was the fourth consecutive monthly increase.  Strong gains were recorded in exports of other crop products, mainly soybeans, as well as canola. Farm, fishing, and intermediate food products volumes rose 15.8%.  Exports of energy products increased 3% to $8.4 billion in October. This was the third consecutive monthly increase. Exports of crude oil and crude bitumen led the gain, up 5% to $6 billion.  Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products grew 5.1% to $4.6 billion, as volumes increased 10.9%.  Leading the overall gain were higher exports of unwrought nickel and nickel alloys, up 47.6%. Recording its first gain in eight months, unwrought, basic and semi-finished aluminum and aluminum alloy products also contributed to the increase. Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals fell 21.9%. Exports of iron ores and concentrates (-51.7%) and copper ores and concentrates (-37.7%) were the main contributors to the decrease.  Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts also declined, down 10.8%, while exports of aircrafts fell 26.3%.

The U.S. Trade deficit grows                                                                                      Figures released aroudn the same time South of the border revealed the U.S. trade deficit grew 4.8% to $42.2 billion, dye ti fewer exports. Exports dropped 3.6% to $180.5 billion. Sales of commercial aircraft, autos and farm products all declined. Imports fell 2.1% to $222.8 billion, reflecting fewer shipments of cellphones, autos and machinery. The trade gap with China increased to a record high. There were, however, some positive developments: U.S. exports to the European Union rose 1.4%. The U.S. also ran a record $2.6 billion trade surplus with South and Central America. The surplus with Brazil, the largest economy in South America, was $1.8 billion. U.S. exports to that country hit a record $4.1 billion. Still, the U.S. trade deficit with China kept growing in October to a record $29.5 billion.

And how about Canada’s trade with Belgium ?

Regarding trade with Belgium, Canadian exports went from $160 million in August, down to $94 million in September and back up to $134 million in October. Canadian imports from Belgium, on the other hand, went from $164 million in August, down slightly to $163 million in September and down again to $117 million in October. Our relatively balanced bilateral trade is subject to wide fluctuations and it will be interesting to see its evolution in the months ahead.

Christian Sivière Import Export Logistics Solutions TM, Montréal christian.siviere@videotron.ca All Rights Reserved December 2012                  Sources : Statistics Canada, United States Census Bureau

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