Canada’s merchandise exports declined 3.9% and imports edged up 0.2%. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February.
Exports declined to $39.6 billion, as volumes fell 3.5% in February. After posting several monthly increases, exports of energy products and automotive products were the main contributors to the overall decline.
Imports increased to $39.3 billion in February as prices rose 1.0%. The gain in imports of energy products was partially offset by a decline in automotive products.
Exports to the United States decreased 3.8% to $29.3 billion. Lower exports of crude petroleum were the largest contributor to the decline. Imports from the United States edged up 0.4% to $24.5 billion. Consequently, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States decreased from $6.1 billion in January to $4.8 billion in February.
Exports to countries other than the United States fell 4.0% to $10.3 billion. Imports from countries other than the United States declined 0.2% to $14.9 billion. As a result, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States increased from $4.1 billion in January to $4.5 billion in February.
Energy products and automotive products lead the decrease in exports
Following three consecutive monthly increases, exports of energy products fell 6.9% to $10.7 billion in February. Both volumes and prices were down. Exports of crude petroleum, down 6.4%, and petroleum and coal products were the main contributors to the decline. Exports of coal and other bituminous substances, up 24.7%, recorded the only gain in the sector.
Exports of automotive products declined 11.9% to $5.4 billion, after five consecutive monthly increases. Volumes fell 11.7%. Exports of passenger autos and chassis, down 18.0%, were the only contributor to the sector’s decline.
Exports of agricultural and fishing products decreased 4.7% to $3.6 billion in February, mainly the result of lower volumes. The decline was led by lower exports of canola, which fell 25.1% after reaching a record high in January.
Exports of industrial goods and materials increased 1.3% to $9.4 billion, as prices rose 2.4%. Fertilizers and fertilizer materials as well as aluminum including alloys registered the largest gains.
Energy products lead the gain in imports
Imports of energy products rose 18.3% to $5.0 billion, its highest level since October 2008. Volumes were up 15.1%. Imports of petroleum and coal products increased 39.2% to a record high of $2.0 billion in February. The gain was largely because of higher imports of pipeline diluents and aviation fuel.
Imports of industrial goods and materials increased 2.1% to $8.4 billion, as prices were up 3.3%. Imports of metals and metal ores rose 9.6% on the strength of precious metals and alloys.
Imports of automotive products declined 6.2% to $6.2 billion in February, offsetting the gains recorded in January. Both volumes and prices fell. Imports of motor vehicle parts led the decline, down 9.8%, the result of lower volumes.
Imports of other consumer goods decreased 5.2% to $4.8 billion, as volumes fell 4.1%. Miscellaneous end products, namely medicinal and pharmaceutical products in dosage, fell 4.9% to $2.0 billion.
Note to readers
Merchandise trade is one component of Canada’s international balance of payments (BOP), which also includes trade in services, investment income, current transfers as well as capital and financial flows.
International merchandise trade data by country are available on both a BOP and a customs basis for the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. Trade data for all other individual countries are available on a customs basis only. BOP data are derived from customs data by making adjustments for factors such as valuation, coverage, timing and residency. These adjustments are made to conform to the concepts and definitions of the Canadian System of National Accounts.
Data in this release are on a BOP basis, seasonally adjusted and in current dollars. Constant dollars are calculated using the Laspeyres volume formula.
In general, merchandise trade data are revised on an ongoing basis for each month of the current year. Current year revisions are reflected in both the customs and BOP based data.
The previous year’s customs data are revised with the release of the January and February reference months as well as on a quarterly basis. The previous two years of customs based data are revised annually and are released in February with the December reference month.
The previous year’s BOP based data will be revised with the release of the January, February, March and April 2012 reference months.
Factors influencing revisions include late receipt of import and export documentation, incorrect information on customs forms, replacement of estimates produced for the energy sector with actual figures, changes in classification of merchandise based on more current information, and changes to seasonal adjustment factors.
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