Canada's merchandise exports fell 1.2% in April as imports grew 0.1%; country swung to trade deficit of C$367M from C$152M in March

OTTAWA , June 8, 2012 (press release) – Canada's merchandise exports declined 1.2% in April, while imports edged up 0.1%. After five consecutive monthly surpluses, Canada posted a trade deficit of $367 million in April, down from a surplus of $152 million in March.

Exports fell to $39.1 billion, the result of a 1.9% decline in prices. The main contributors to the overall decrease were exports of industrial goods and materials, as well as machinery and equipment.

Imports rose to $39.5 billion, their fifth consecutive monthly increase. The gains were led by higher imports of automotive products and other consumer goods, while imports of energy products declined.

Exports to the United States fell 1.2% to $28.4 billion in April, the fourth consecutive monthly decrease. Imports from the United States rose 1.3% to $24.6 billion. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States decreased from $4.5 billion in March to $3.8 billion in April.

Exports to countries other than the United States decreased 1.2% to $10.7 billion in April, while imports declined 1.9% to $14.9 billion. Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $4.4 billion in March to $4.2 billion in April.
Exports: Widespread declines in industrial goods and materials sector

Exports of industrial goods and materials fell 5.8% to $9.3 billion in April, as widespread declines were recorded throughout the sector. Volumes fell 3.7%, while prices declined 2.1%. Metal ores as well as metals and alloys were the main contributors to the sector's decline, which was partially offset by gains in chemicals, plastics and fertilizers, particularly potash.

Exports of machinery and equipment decreased 3.1% to $6.7 billion, as volumes fell 3.4%. The main contributor to the decrease was a 14.1% decline in exports of aircraft, engines and parts.

Exports of energy products decreased 0.8% to $9.9 billion in April, as prices fell 6.7%. Crude petroleum exports dropped 9.0%, the third consecutive monthly decline that was a result of lower prices. Exports of petroleum and coal products increased 18.5%.

Automotive products exports rose 2.8% to $5.5 billion in April. Leading the gain were exports of passenger autos and chassis (+2.4%), followed by motor vehicle parts, which recorded its fifth consecutive monthly gain. These increases were on the strength of volumes.

Exports of agricultural and fishing products, which increased 3.8% to $3.7 billion, have been on an upward trend since March 2011. Volumes rose 2.7%. The main contributors to the sector's gain were higher exports of fish and fish preparations (+18.7%) and wheat (+12.1%).
Counterbalancing movements in imports

Imports of automotive products rose 2.6% to $6.8 billion in April, as volumes grew 3.2%. Imports of motor vehicle parts, up 5.4% to $2.9 billion, led the sector's gain.

Imports rose 2.6% to $5.1 billion in the other consumer goods sector, where widespread gains were recorded. The main contributor to the increase was imports of apparel and footwear (+11.1%), mostly the result of higher imports of apparel and apparel accessories.

Imports of industrial goods and materials rose 0.7% to $8.2 billion in April. Other industrial goods and materials (+2.5%) led the sector's increase on the strength of metal fabricated basic products.

Imports of energy products fell 6.8% to $4.1 billion, the result of lower prices and volumes. After three consecutive monthly increases, imports of crude petroleum fell 6.5% to $2.5 billion, as prices dropped 11.1%. Petroleum and coal products also contributed to the decline.

Imports of machinery and equipment decreased 0.6% to $10.8 billion in April. The decline was led by lower imports of office machines and equipment as well as other machinery and equipment, primarily laboratory equipment.

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