Canadian international merchandise trade for January 2015
Ottawa - Canada's exports declined 2.8% in January while imports were largely unchanged from December. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade deficit widened from $1.2 billion in December to $2.5 billion in January, the largest since the record $2.9 billion deficit in July 2012.
Export prices declined 1.5% on lower prices for energy products, and volumes were down 1.3% on lower volumes of metal and non-metallic mineral products. Meanwhile, import prices edged up 0.1%, while volumes edged down 0.1%.
Trade surplus with the United States narrows
Exports to the United States declined 3.1% to $31.8 billion in January. Exports to countries other than the United States were down 1.9% to $10.9 billion. This decrease was widespread across most principal trading partners, led by lower exports to the Netherlands (-$184 million) and Italy (-$172 million). Conversely, exports to the United Kingdom increased by $357 million.
Imports from the United States edged down 0.1% to $30.5 billion. Imports from countries other than the United States edged up 0.2% to $14.5 billion. Higher imports from China (+$250 million) were partially offset by lower imports from the United Kingdom (-$174 million) and Saudi Arabia (-$111 million).
Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $2.2 billion in December to $1.2 billion in January, the lowest surplus since 1992. Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States widened from $3.4 billion in December to $3.7 billion in January.
Exports decline on lower crude oil prices
Exports declined 2.8% to $42.6 billion in January, as 4 of 11 sections decreased. Energy products, mainly crude oil and crude bitumen, were the main contributor to the decline. Excluding crude oil and crude bitumen, exports increased 0.2% in January. Year over year, total exports were up 3.4%.
Exports of energy products fell 14.7% to $7.0 billion in January, the eighth consecutive monthly decrease. Crude oil and crude bitumen exports declined 23.0% to $4.4 billion, as prices fell 23.2%.
Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products were down 8.6% to $5.1 billion. Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys (-13.5%) and unwrought, basic and semi-finished aluminum and aluminum-alloy products (-20.4%) were the main contributors to the decrease. Overall, volumes declined 8.0%.
Meanwhile, exports of motor vehicles and parts were up 3.1% to $6.9 billion in January. Exports of passenger cars and light trucks rose 8.6% to $4.8 billion. This increase was partially offset by lower exports of motor vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts, down 11.5% to $1.6 billion.
Imports largely unchanged
Imports for January were virtually unchanged at $45.1 billion, as advances in five sections were offset by declines in the six remaining sections. Imports were up 8.8% from January 2014.
Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts rose 9.3% to $5.3 billion in January, as volumes were up 7.4% and prices 1.8%. The increase for this section was almost entirely the result of higher imports of communications and audio and video equipment, up 29.8% to $2.0 billion.
Industrial machinery, equipment and parts increased 8.2% to $4.7 billion. Widespread increases in imports for this section were led by other industry-specific machinery (+32.6%) and other general-purpose machinery and equipment (+5.9%), both reaching record highs. Overall, volumes rose 5.0% and prices 3.0%.
Partially offsetting these gains, imports of energy products fell 19.2% to $2.7 billion. Crude oil and crude bitumen declined 27.6% to $1.3 billion, as prices fell 26.9% and volumes 0.9%. Imports of refined petroleum energy products (-12.8%) were also down in January.