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Exports Bounce Back, Imports Falter

Dec 05, 2017

The Conference Board of Canada’s Senior Economist Doris Chu offers the following perspectives/insights:


“Although October’s trade numbers are encouraging, the trade sector will not an be an engine of growth for the Canadian economy as it has been over the past few years. While trade will not be a growth driver for 2017 as a whole, solid U.S. demand and a competitive Canadian dollar will propel greater export activity in the near term, allowing the export sector to be a contributor to real GDP growth in the final quarter of this year.”
—Doris Chu, Senior Economist, National Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • With exports outpacing imports by a wide margin in October, net exports will contribute to real GDP growth in the final quarter of the year.
  • Canada’s merchandise trade deficit with the world came in at $1.5 billion in October, less than half the $3.4 billion deficit registered in September. However, the trade surplus with the U.S. widened to $3.5 billion up from $2.0 billion in September.
  • After four consecutive months of decline, merchandise exports posted an increase of 2.7 per cent in October. The monthly increase in exports was widespread, with chemicals, plastic and rubber products making substantial gains. Metal and non-metallic mineral products; agriculture and food products; and energy products also saw increases.
  • Despite the gain in October, total exports are up by just 0.8 per cent from last year with all this increase stemming from energy exports.
  • Work disruptions in the automotive industry led to a sharp drop in the demand for motor vehicle parts in October. This contributed to the largest decline in real imports since October 2016.