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Posted May 3, 2013

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Trade

Exports Increased 5.1% in March

Canada's merchandise exports increased 5.1% in March and imports rose 1.7%. As a result, Canada's trade balance went from a deficit of $1.2 billion in February to a surplus of $24 million in March.

Exports and imports

Exports grew to $40.5 billion in March, and have been on an upward trend since July 2012. Gains were recorded in all sections during the month and export volumes were up 5.1%.

Imports rose for a third consecutive month to reach $40.4 billion, their second highest value on record. The main contributors to the monthly increase were energy products and metal and non-metallic mineral products. Overall, prices grew 1.4% and volumes were up 0.3%.

Exports to the United States rose 4.0% to $29.5 billion in March, on higher exports of motor vehicles and parts and energy products. Imports from the United States were up 2.0% to $25.6 billion, a third consecutive monthly advance. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States increased from $3.2 billion in February to $3.8 billion in March.

Exports to countries other than the United States rose 7.9% to $11.0 billion in March. All principal trading areas registered gains, with Japan (+25.2%) recording the largest percentage increase. Imports from countries other than United States grew 1.2% to $14.8 billion. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States decreased from $4.4 billion in February to $3.8 billion in March.

Higher volumes lead increase in exports

Exports of energy products rose 3.9% to $9.1 billion in March, mainly because of a 24.8% increase in volumes of natural gas. Exports of this commodity group have been on an upward trend since May 2012, primarily the result of higher prices. Also contributing to the rise in exports of energy products were refined petroleum energy products and other energy products.

Exports of motor vehicles and parts increased 6.1% to $5.8 billion, as volumes were up 4.8% and prices rose 1.2%. All groups recorded an increase in value, led by passenger cars and light trucks (+6.2%).

Exports of consumer goods rose 5.6% to $4.3 billion, as a result of higher volumes and prices. Exports of food, beverage and tobacco products were the main contributors to the gain, up 14.4% to a record high of $2.0 billion.

Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals rose 13.2% to $1.7 billion in March. Copper ores and concentrates contributed the most to the increase, the result of higher volumes (+94.9%).

Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts increased 13.4% to $1.5 billion, on higher volumes. Aircraft, aircraft engines and aircraft parts rose for a third consecutive month to lead the overall increase in this section.

Widespread gains in imports

Imports of energy products increased 7.5% to $3.8 billion in March, as volumes rose 4.9%, and prices were up 2.5%. Higher imports of crude oil and crude bitumen led the way, increasing 18.1% to $2.5 billion after three consecutive monthly declines.

Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products rose 5.8% to $3.5 billion. Widespread gains in the section were led by unwrought precious metal and precious metal alloys, which increased 21.8% entirely on higher volumes.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts were up 15.8% to $1.2 billion in March. The increase was the result of higher volumes (+13.9%).

Imports of motor vehicles and parts rose 2.4% to $7.0 billion, their highest value since July 2012. An increase in imports of motor vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts (+4.6%) was the main contributor to the monthly gain. Volumes of motor vehicles and parts increased 1.3% and prices were up 1.1%.

In contrast, imports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products declined 8.1% to $3.2 billion in March, on lower volumes (-9.7%). Imports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products, as well as basic chemicals posted the largest declines.

Trade balance

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