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Canada posts sixth consecutive trade surplus despite challenges: StatsCan

Published by Brad Fougere on December 05, 2014

Canada’s overall trade numbers were flat in October as an unplanned shutdown of Canada’s largest oil refinery wiped out export growth in other sectors.

Overall, exports were essentially unchanged compared to September, rising by just 0.1%. Meanwhile a small 0.5 per cent increase in imports chipped away at Canada’s monthly trade surplus which fell to just $99 million, compared to a revised $308 million surplus. Considering that $99 million is equivalent to 0.2 per cent of Canada’s total exports, our international trade balance was effectively zero in October.


In spite of the flat performance in October, Canadian exporters are still enjoying an excellent year in 2014. Exports are up 10.8 per cent through 10 months and will easily break a new all-time high, eclipsing the previous record of $487.3 billion in 2008. In fact, if exports increase by two per cent in November, Canada will have broken that record before counting even a single dollar’s worth of sales in December.

Moreover, the export outlook for the remainder of 2014 is strong. Not only are a lower Canadian dollar and resurgent US economy boosting international sales, but plunging oil prices are suddenly saving US consumers billions of dollars at the gas pumps – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The flat export performance in October was the result of strong gains in advanced manufactured goods offsetting lower sales of consumer goods, refined petroleum, and wheat and other field crops. Exporters of industrial machinery, equipment and parts saw the largest dollar-value gain in sales, with an increase of just under $195 million in October – an 8.0 per cent increase over the previous month. Sales of aerospace products, as well as electronic/electrical equipment and parts were also up strongly in October. 


Exports were up in most provinces in October, led by Saskatchewan where sales rose by $252 million – an 8.5 per cent increase in just one month. Percentage gains were even higher in PEI and Manitoba, although the dollar value of exports from those provinces is smaller.


These gains, plus more modest increases in other provinces, were wiped out by steep losses in New Brunswick, where the shuttering of the Irving oil refinery for repairs caused exports from that province to plunge by 25 per cent. In fact,

On the import side, Canadians bought more foreign aerospace products, along with metal ores and non-metallic minerals in October. Purchases of those products were up 12.4 per cent and 13.8 per cent, respectively. While imports of advanced manufactured goods (other than aerospace) were down slightly in October, the biggest decrease by far was in imports of foreign crude oil.

Found in: Stats Canada

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