Canada's merchandise exports fell 3.9% in February as exports grew 0.2%; country's trade surplus fell to C$292M from C$1.9B in January: Statistics Canada

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Apr 12, 2012 – Statistics Canada

OTTAWA , April 12, 2012 (press release) – Canada's merchandise exports declined 3.9% and imports edged up 0.2%. As a result, Canada's trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February.

Exports declined to $39.6 billion, as volumes fell 3.5% in February. After posting several monthly increases, exports of energy products and automotive products were the main contributors to the overall decline.

Imports increased to $39.3 billion in February as prices rose 1.0%. The gain in imports of energy products was partially offset by a decline in automotive products.

Exports to the United States decreased 3.8% to $29.3 billion. Lower exports of crude petroleum were the largest contributor to the decline. Imports from the United States edged up 0.4% to $24.5 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States decreased from $6.1 billion in January to $4.8 billion in February.

Exports to countries other than the United States fell 4.0% to $10.3 billion. Imports from countries other than the United States declined 0.2% to $14.9 billion. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States increased from $4.1 billion in January to $4.5 billion in February.
Energy products and automotive products lead the decrease in exports

Following three consecutive monthly increases, exports of energy products fell 6.9% to $10.7 billion in February. Both volumes and prices were down. Exports of crude petroleum, down 6.4%, and petroleum and coal products were the main contributors to the decline. Exports of coal and other bituminous substances, up 24.7%, recorded the only gain in the sector.

Exports of automotive products declined 11.9% to $5.4 billion, after five consecutive monthly increases. Volumes fell 11.7%. Exports of passenger autos and chassis, down 18.0%, were the only contributor to the sector's decline.

Exports of agricultural and fishing products decreased 4.7% to $3.6 billion in February, mainly the result of lower volumes. The decline was led by lower exports of canola, which fell 25.1% after reaching a record high in January.

Exports of industrial goods and materials increased 1.3% to $9.4 billion, as prices rose 2.4%. Fertilizers and fertilizer materials as well as aluminum including alloys registered the largest gains.
Energy products lead the gain in imports

Imports of energy products rose 18.3% to $5.0 billion, its highest level since October 2008. Volumes were up 15.1%. Imports of petroleum and coal products increased 39.2% to a record high of $2.0 billion in February. The gain was largely because of higher imports of pipeline diluents and aviation fuel.

Imports of industrial goods and materials increased 2.1% to $8.4 billion, as prices were up 3.3%. Imports of metals and metal ores rose 9.6% on the strength of precious metals and alloys.

Imports of automotive products declined 6.2% to $6.2 billion in February, offsetting the gains recorded in January. Both volumes and prices fell. Imports of motor vehicle parts led the decline, down 9.8%, the result of lower volumes.

Imports of other consumer goods decreased 5.2% to $4.8 billion, as volumes fell 4.1%. Miscellaneous end products, namely medicinal and pharmaceutical products in dosage, fell 4.9% to $2.0 billion.

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