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Record mineral product imports sees trade surplus streak end

Published by Brad Fougere on October 03, 2014

Canada’s streak of record exports and growing trade surpluses ended in August. A 2.5 per cent drop in International sales, combined with a 3.9 per cent increase in imports, turned July’s $2.2 billion trade surplus into a $610-million deficit in August. 

In spite of the drop, Canadian exporters are still enjoying a strong year thus far. From January through August, total exports are 10.6 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2013.  

August’s decrease in exports was spread across a wide range of sectors, but most heavily concentrated in two areas: motor vehicles and parts, and crude oil. Motor vehicles and parts exports fell 11.2 per cent in August, erasing the gains made in an unusually strong July. Meanwhile, US oil production hit a near 30-year high in August. That surge in production, combined with falling energy prices undercut Canadian crude oil exports in August, leading to a 7.1 per cent drop that month.

The one bright spot in Canada’s export picture in August was in the aerospace sector where major deliveries caused international sales to jump by nearly 27 per cent.

At the provincial level, PEI and Quebec saw the largest export gains in August. Exports from PEI were up 41.0 per cent over July, recovering the steep losses in provincial exports the previous month levels, while in Quebec, exports were 5.9 per cent higher. BC and Ontario were the only other provinces to see modest export gains in August.

For their part, the increase in imports was concentrated in two major areas: shipments of overseas crude oil into eastern Canadian refineries (up 36.6 per cent in August), and the purchase of intermediate metal products from overseas producers (up 38.2 per cent). Aside from those two product categories, imports were essentially flat in August, up just 0.4 per cent compared to July levels. 

Found in: Stats Canada

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