Canada’s international merchandise trade, September 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, September 2012                                   Canada’s merchandise exports rose 1.9% and imports were unchanged in September. As a result, Canada’s international trade deficit with the world narrowed from $1.5 billion in August to $826 million in September. Exports rose to $38 billion, with energy products leading the overall gain.  Imports remained at $38.8 billion in September.  Overall, the increase in volumes offset the decrease in prices.  Metal and non-metallic mineral products registered the largest increase in imports, while consumer goods posted the largest decline.  Exports to the United States grew 1.3% to $27.8 billion, on higher exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts.  Imports from the United States were up 0.5% to $24.3 billion. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States rose from $3.2 billion in August to $3.5 billion in September. Exports to countries other than the United States increased 3.6% to $10.2 billion, while imports were down 0.8% to $14.5 billion. Consequently, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $4.8 billion in August to $4.3 billion in September.

The energy products section lead the increase in exports                                           Exports of energy products rose 4.2% to $8.4 billion in September.  Leading the gain were exports of crude oil and crude bitumen, up 9.5% while other energy products, mainly coal, also contributed to the increase.  Refined petroleum products partially offset the increase, due to lower exports of diesel fuel and moter gasoline.  Exports of farm, fishing, and intermediate food products grew 14.4% to a record high of $2.3 billion in September.  Following three consecutive monthly declines, exports of canola were up 81.9% to $457 million, contributing the most to the increase.  Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts rose 17.9% to $1.7 billion, thanks to higher exports of aircraft, mainly to the United States.  Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals posted a 17.4% increase to $1.6 billion.  A 46.4% increase in metal ores and concentrates contributed the most to the gain in the section, thanks mainly to exports of copper ores and concentrates.  Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 4.1% to $4.3 billions and widespread decreases were recorded for unwrought nickel and nickel alloys.  Exports of unwrought precias metals and precious metal alloys partially offset the decrease.

Imports were unchanged                                                                                        Import of metal and non-metallic mineral products rose 8.4% to $3.7 billion, with unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys leading the gain.  Imports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products increased 6.5% to $3.2 billion.  Imports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products contributed most to the gain, partially offset by lower imports of chemicals, primarily pharmaceutical chemicals.  Imports of consumer goods fell 3% to $7.5 billion, this section recording its third consecutive monthly decline.  A 10.1% decline in imports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products contributed the most to this sector’s decrease.  Imports of motor vehicles and parts, down for a third month in a row, declined 2.5% to $6.7 billion; the principal contributor behind the overall decrease being imports of passenger cars and light trucks.

How do our NAFTA partners fare, on the eve of NAFTA’s 20 year anniversary? The United States Commerce Department’s Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that exports for September rose 3.1% to $187 billion, while imports increased 1.5% to $228.5 billion.  Goods exports increased by $5.4 billion to a record high of $134 billion, while exports of services rose by $0.3 billion to $53 billion, also a record.  As a result, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed 5.1% from August to September to $41.5 billion, much better than expected.  Mexico‘s merchandise trade balance turned to a surplus of $234 million in September, compared to a deficit of $1.87 billion last year.  Export of goods increased 1.8% to $29.3 billion during the month, this growth reflecting a 1.2% increase in non-oil exports and a 5.4% rise in oil exports.  Imports, meanwhile, decreased by 5.1% to $29.07 billion.  Month-on-month, seasonally adjusted exports were broadly unchanged in September, while imports decreased by 1.44%.

And how about Canada’s trade with Belgium ?                                               Regarding trade with Belgium, Canadian exports went from 126 million in July, down to 84 million in August, and back up to 93 million in September. Canadian imports from Belgium, on the other hand, went from 206 million in July, down to 163 million in August, and down to 122 million in September. Our trade remains in favour of Belgium, but has slowed down somewhat and this trend could be worrying, if it continues.

Christian Sivière Import Export Logistics Solutions TM, Montréal christian.siviere@videotron.ca All Rights Reserved November 2012                  Sources : Statistics Canada, United States Census Bureau, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia