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2014 exports surpassed pre-recession record: StatsCan

Published by Brad Fougere on February 05, 2015

In spite of plunging crude oil prices driving down the value of energy shipments, Canada’s exports performance rebounded in December, closing the books on a record year in international trade.

Trade was up on both sides of the ledger in December. Exports rose 1.5 per cent to $44.1 billion, recovering about half of November’s steep losses. For their part, imports also swung back into positive territory, posting a 2.3 per cent increase and reaching $44.7 billion for the final month of 2014.

As a result, Canada’s trade balance in December was negative for the third month in a row. Although still modest in size, the monthly trade deficit nearly doubled from a revised $335 million in November to $647 million to close out the year. 

Although some year-end adjustments are still to come, 2014 will go down in the books as a record year for Canadian exporters. For the year as a whole, international sales were up 10.3 per cent over 2013 levels, reaching a new all-time high of $529 billion. It ended up taking six years but with that total, Canada has finally moved past its pre-recession peak in international trade; the previous record year in exports was 2008, when Canadian businesses sold $487 billion in goods to foreign customers.

For their part, imports were up 7.6 per cent for 2014 as a whole, reaching $523.4 billion. That figure also represents a new all-time high and the third consecutive year of record imports into Canada. Although Canada posted trade deficits in the final quarter of 2014, for the year as a whole, the country registered an estimated trade surplus of $5.2 billion.

As noted above, December’s rebound performance came despite an expected drop in energy exports. Plummeting crude oil prices are having a dramatic effect on the value of Canada’s most important export commodity as sales of crude oil fell by 12.0 per cent compared to November. Natural gas exports were down sharply as well. Booming supply in the US and softer-than-expected demand drove gas exports down 17.3 per cent in December.

That exports increased at all in December is testament to the strength of the recovery in non-energy trade. Not including crude oil and natural gas, Canada’s exports grew by a remarkable 4.9 per cent that month.

Leading the way were exporters of metals, minerals and associated manufactured products. Metallic and non-metallic mineral products were up 13.1 per cent, led by precious metal alloys and other intermediate metal products. Raw metals and minerals also posted strong gains (11.9 per cent), with potash, diamonds and iron ore leading the way.

Exports were up in nearly every province in December. Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and PEI all closed out the year with double-digit increases – led by a 19.0 per cent jump in exports from Quebec. Only New Brunswick (-7.7 per cent) and Manitoba (-0.7 per cent) saw a decrease in exports to end the year. 

The 2.3 percent increase in imports in December was largely the result of higher sales of food and energy products – specifically oil and gas, as well as fruits, vegetables and other produce.

Found in: StatsCan

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Alberta British Columbia
Manitoba New Brunswick
Newfoundland & Labrador Nova Scotia
Ontario Québec
Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan