Exports to U.S. on Downward Trend

OTTAWA – In April 2012, Canada reported a trade deficit of $367 million, whereas only a month before it had reported a surplus of $152 million, according to StatsCan. The $519 million difference is accounted to the 1.2 percent decline in the Canadian international merchandise exports. Imports remained virtually unchanged, edging up to 0.1 percent.

Over the past three years Canada’s international merchandise trade yo-yoed up and down from large decreases in 2009, to consecutive increases in both 2010 and 2011.

One trend that remained consistent throughout is the decline in reliance on the U.S. as a trading partner. In 2011, the U.S. accounted for 74 percent of
total exports, down from 87 percent a decade earlier, according to an Ontario Trucking Association article. And in 2012, exports to the U.S. keep declining.

In April, exports to the U.S. fell 1.2 percent to $28.4 billion, marking the fourth consecutive monthly decrease, but imports from the U.S. rose 1.3 percent to $24.6 billion.

Exports to countries other than the U.S. also decreased 1.2 percent to $10.7 billion in April, while imports declined 1.9 percent to $14.9 billion.

Widespread Decline in Exports Across the Sectors

The industrial goods and materials sector suffered an overall fall of 5.8 percent in exports, bringing the sector to $9.3 billion. The fall is mainly attributed to the decline of metal ores, metals and alloys, which could not be offset by the sector’s gains in chemicals, plastics and fertilizers.

Another sector suffering from a decline in exports is the machinery and equipment sector. A 14.1 percent decline in exports of aircraft, engine and parts contributed to an overall 3.1 percent decrease in exports of machinery and equipment, bringing the sector down to $6.7 billion. And even though exports of petroleum and coal products increased 18.5 percent, exports of energy products decreased by 0.8 percent to $9.9 billion
in April.

On the flip side, automotive products exports rose by 2.8 percent to $5.5 billion.

And keeping with an upward trend since March 2011, the exports of agricultural and fishing products increased by 3.8 percent to $3.7 billion.

Imports on the Rise

In April, imports of automotive products rose 2.6 percent to $6.8 billion.Leading the sector’s gain were imports of motor vehicle parts which were up 5.4 percent to $2.9 billion.

According to StatsCan, widespread gains were recorded in the consumer goods sector, which in April rose 2.6 percent to $5.1 billion. A gain of 11.1
percent in imports of apparel and footwear was the main contributor in the sector’s overall increase.

Imports of industrial goods and materials rose by a margin of 0.7 percent to $8.2 billion.

However, as a result of lower prices and volumes, imports of energy products fell by 6.8 percent to $4.1 billion. Petroleum and coal products contributed
to the decline of the sector when, after three consecutive monthly increases, imports of crude petroleum fell 6.5 percent to $2.5 billion. The reason for the drop, according to Stats Can was that prices dropped by 11.1 percent.

Imports of machinery and equipment also decreased 0.6 percent to $10.8 billion in April. Fewer imports of office and laboratory equipment and machines were the primary cause of the sector’s overall decrease.

Check out the full report here.


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