Canada May International Merchandise Trade Report (Text)

The following is the text of Canada’s international merchandise trade report for May from Statistics Canada.

Canada’s merchandise imports increased 0.4% while exports were relatively unchanged in May. As a result, Canada’s trade deficit with the world widened from $623 million in April to $793 million in May.

Imports rose to $39.7 billion, on the strength of energy products. Overall, prices were up 1.5% as increases were recorded in most sectors.

Exports remained at $38.9 billion in May; the increase in volumes counterbalanced the decrease in prices. Higher exports of machinery and equipment nearly offset the decline in most sectors.

Imports from the United States rose 1.8% to $25.0 billion in May. After four consecutive monthly decreases, exports to the United States edged up 0.2% to $28.2 billion. Canada’s trade surplus with the United States decreased from $3.6 billion in April to $3.2 billion in May.

Imports from countries other than the United States declined 1.9% to $14.7 billion and exports were down 0.7% to $10.7 billion. Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $4.2 billion in April to $4.0 billion in May.

Energy products sector leads the increase in imports

Imports of energy products increased 3.7% to $4.3 billion in May, on the strength of crude petroleum. Imports of crude petroleum rose 7.2% to $2.7 billion in anticipation of temporary shutdowns for maintenance. Overall, volumes were up 3.9%.

Imports of automotive products, up for a third consecutive month, increased 0.8% to $6.9 billion in May. Prices were up 1.4%. Higher imports of trucks and other motor vehicles, which rose 4.0% to a record high of $1.8 billion, led the sector’s increase.

Imports of machinery and equipment decreased 1.3% to $10.7 billion, as volumes fell 2.4% and prices increased. Lower imports of other machinery and equipment (-2.6%), primarily telephone equipment, contributed the most to the sector’s decline.

Imports of other consumer goods decreased 1.7% to $5.0 billion. The main contributor to the decline was apparel and footwear, as volumes fell 8.8%.

Machinery and equipment sector nearly offsets widespread decreases in exports

Exports of machinery and equipment grew 8.7% to $7.3 billion, on the strength of volumes (+8.0%). The gain in the sector nearly offset the decline in overall exports. Leading the increase were exports of aircraft, engines and parts, up 46.0% to $1.5 billion, the highest level since December 2010.

Exports of energy products fell 4.3% to $9.2 billion, the result of lower volumes and prices. Exports of crude petroleum declined 5.5% to $5.7 billion, the fourth consecutive monthly decline since the record high in January. In May, petroleum and coal products, primarily diesel fuel and motor gasoline, decreased 4.3% on lower volumes. At the same time, coal and other bituminous substances declined as a result of a 12.0% decrease in prices.

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.

New aggregation structure

Statistics Canada will introduce the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) for merchandise import and export statistics. The new structure will replace the classification structures known as the summary import groups (SIG) and the summary export groups (SEG) and the higher level aggregations (major groups, subsectors, sectors and sections) that have been in use for several decades.

Revised data based on NAPCS for the reference period of January 1988 to August 2012 will be disseminated on October 18.

The first regular release of data based on NAPCS will be on November 8 for the September reference month.

Readers interested in this upcoming change can find more detailed information on our web page dedicated to classification ( consultation and notification.


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.

Revised data are available in the appropriate CANSIM tables, free of charge.

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