Canadian Manufacturing

Canada posted $923M trade surplus in December, Statistics Canada reports

Imports saw gains in aircraft, industrial machinery and minerals, and losses in energy, while exports grew in energy but fell in cars and metals

February 7, 2017  by The Canadian Press, with files from Canadian Staff

OTTAWA—Statistics Canada says the country posted its second consecutive monthly trade surplus in December.

The agency says Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world posted a surplus of $923 million for the final month of 2016.

Economists on average had expected a surplus of $350 million for December, according to Reuters.

Exports in December gained 0.8 per cent to a record $46.4 billion, due to higher energy product prices.


Meanwhile, imports increased 1.0 per cent to $45.5 billion in December, due in large part to imports of aircrafts and industrial machinery.

In volume terms, exports fell 1.4 per cent due to declines in metal ores and non-metallic minerals, while import volumes gained 0.4 per cent, led by industrial machinery, equipment and parts.


Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts increased 21.8 per cent to $1.5 billion in December. After settling at a $6 million low in November, imports of aircrafts rebounded to $200 million in December. Aircraft engines and aircraft parts were also up 13.6 per cent to $917 million.

Industrial machinery, equipment and parts rose 6.4 per cent to $4.3 billion in December, with all commodity groupings recording gains.

Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products were up 6.3 per cent to $3.9 billion in December. Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys rose 28.0 per cent to $941 million.

Imports of energy products fell, down 11.9 per cent to $2.2 billion. Crude oil was mainly responsible for the decline, falling 18.0 per cent to $1.1 billion, the lowest level since February 2016. For the section as a whole, volumes were down 14.8 per cent and prices were up 3.4 per cent.


December saw the third consecutive monthly gain in exports.

Energy product exports rose 15.9 per cent to $8.5 billion, the highest value since November 2014. Crude oil was up 17.2 per cent to $5.7 billion, and natural gas exports were up 36.0 per cent to $1.1 billion. Overall, prices rose 16.5 per cent while volumes were down 0.6 per cent.

Exports of motor vehicles and parts were down 5.2 per cent to $7.4 billion, the lowest level since June 2015. Decline was led by passenger cars and light trucks, down 6.2 pre cent to $4.8 billion. For the section as a whole, volumes were down 3.9 per cent and prices decreased 1.4 per cent.

Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals decreased 12.6 per cent to $1.4 billion. Iron ores and concentrates were down 36.9 per cent to $254 million, and copper ores and concentrates decreased 30.2 per cent to $246 million. Overall, volumes were down 22.5 per cent while prices increased 12.8 per cent.

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