Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $198 million in December and went down to $163 million in January, were down again to $96 million in February. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, which came to $114 million in December and were down slightly in January to $110 million, went back up to $133 million in February. So as we can see from these figures, our bilateral trade fluctuates and it will be interesting to see how it will evolve in the coming months.
Overall, Canada’s imports declined 0.7% in February while exports were up 0.4%, compared to January, reducing the Canadian merchandise trade deficit with the world from $1.5 billion in January to $984 million in February.
Canadian exports rose to $43.5 billion, as 5 of 11 sections were up. There were widespread increases in the energy section, led by crude oil and crude bitumen (+9.3%), natural gas (+45.1%) and refined petroleum energy products (+22.2%). Offsetting this increase, exports of motor vehicles and parts declined 15.1%, with passenger cars and light trucks being the main contributor.
Canadian imports were down to $44.5 billion in February, as 7 of 11 sections declined. Motor vehicles and parts declined 4.7%, industrial machinery, equipment and parts 4.3%, energy products 7% and chemical, plastic and rubber products 4.6%. On the other hand, imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals increased 16.3%.
Geographically, our imports from the United States declined 1.2%, while our imports from other countries went up 0.3%, shipments from Mexico and Saudi Arabia declining the most. Our exports to the United States rose 1.1% but our exports to other countries were down 1.5%, the United Kingdom and Japan contributing the most to the decline. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States widened from $2.2 billion to $2.9 billion, while our trade deficit with other countries increased from $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion.
South of the border meantime, the U.S. goods and services deficit totalled $35.4 billion in February, down 17% from January. February exports stood at $186.2 billion, down 1.5%, with capital goods, civilian aircraft semiconductors and industrial supplies and materials contributing the most to the decrease. Imports stood at $221.7 billion, down 4.5%, with industrial supplies and materials, crude oil, capital goods and other industrial machines decreasing the most. The U.S. recorded trade surpluses with South and Central America but had deficits with China, the European Union, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, India and as we know, with Canada.
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Source: Statistics Canada, the U.S. Census Bureau