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Canada's trade deficit narrows to $1.1 billion in October

December 8, 2016

Statistics Canada announced that the country's merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed from a record $4.4 billion in September to $1.1 billion in October, the smallest since January.

According to the federal agency, Canada's imports fell 6.3% to $44.7 billion in October following a record high in September which was caused by an exceptionally large shipment destined for the Hebron offshore oil project.

Excluding the $2.9 billion increase due to the Hebron import in September, total imports would have decreased 0.3% in October, and the trade deficit would have narrowed from $1.5 billion in September to $1.1 billion in October.

September's unusual situation resulted in lower imports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts in October which were down down 42.0% to $4.0 billion. Imports of energy products fell 11.6% to $2.0 billion. Higher imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts moderated the declines, up 1.6% to $5.3 billion in October.

Total exports increased 0.5% to $43.6 billion. Exports of energy products increased 5.5% to $6.5 billion in October, the eighth consecutive monthly increase. Exports of motor vehicles and parts also contributed to the overall increase, rising 3.2% to $8.0 billion in October. Moderating these gains were lower exports of consumer goods, down 3.2% to $6.0 billion in October. There were also lower exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts in October, down 4.5% to $1.9 billion.

Imports from countries other than the United States fell 16.7% to $15.0 billion in October. Lower imports from South Korea (-$3.0 billion) were primarily responsible for the decrease, mainly reflecting the large Hebron shipment in September. Exports to countries other than the United States decreased 2.7% to $10.8 billion. The United Kingdom was the main contributor to the decline in October, with exports down by $469 million on fewer exports of precious metals. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $6.8 billion in September to $4.1 billion in October.

Exports to the United States increased 1.6% to $32.8 billion in October, led by exports of crude oil and crude bitumen. Imports edged down 0.1% to $29.7 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States widened from $2.5 billion in September to $3.0 billion in October.

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