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Canada on pace to eclipse 2008 international sales

Published by Brad Fougere on November 04, 2014

Canada’s trade performance improved in September, ensuring the country’s exporters remain on track to post record sales in 2014. Exports grew by 1.1 per cent in September which, when combined with a 1.5 per cent drop in imports, swung Canada’s trade balance back into positive territory. Canada posted a $710 million trade surplus in September, compared to a revised trade deficit of $464 million in August.  

Thanks to a combination of factors, including a lower Canadian dollar and stronger US economy, exports are up 10.4 per cent through the first three quarters of 2014 compared to the same period last year. Canada is easily on track to eclipse its high water mark of $487.3 billion in international sales, set in 2008.

The increase in exports in September was spread across a range of sectors, but led by a strong performance by Canadian manufacturers. Exporters of motor vehicles and parts saw the largest dollar-value growth in sales, with sales up $365 million in September – a 6.0 per cent increase over the previous month. Consumer goods exports grew even faster at 6.6 per cent, buoyed by a surge in sales of pharmaceuticals and medicines. Sales of intermediate metal products were also up significantly in September. 

Offsetting those gains was a steep drop in aerospace exports. Aerospace exports tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis because of the size of the finished product and the timing of major deliveries. After a 27.7 per cent increase in August, aerospace exports fell by 20.9 per cent in September.

At the provincial level, export growth was driven by Canada’s two largest provinces. Exports from Ontario and Quebec were up 13.9 per cent and 11.1 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, most of Atlantic Canada saw a heavy decline in international sales for the month. Export growth in the West was modest, led by a 6.8 per cent gain in Alberta.

For the year as a whole, however, the Atlantic Provinces and Alberta are setting the pace for the rest of the country. Exports from Nova Scotia are up 35 per cent through the first nine months of the years compared to the same period in 2013. For their part, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and PEI are all enjoying gains in the range of 20 per cent.

For its part, September’s decrease in imports was a near mirror image of August’s performance. The decline in September was driven by a substantial drop in crude oil imports into eastern Canada (down 36.4 per cent), as well as an 18.7 per cent decline in the purchase of intermediate metal products from overseas producers. Those same product categories had been chiefly responsible for the surge in imports in August. Not including crude oil and intermediate metal products, imports actually rose by 2.1 per cent in September.

Found in: Stats Canada

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