Growth in Canadian exports has been modest so far this year, due in large part to the sluggishness in the U.S. economy. But, in 2017, we expect the gradual rise in commodity prices, improving U.S. economic activity, and the still-low Canadian dollar to generate faster growth in Canadian exports to our southern neighbour. While the U.S. is, by far, Canada’s largest trading partner, about a quarter of Canada’s merchandise exports and more than 40 per cent of its services exports go to non-U.S. markets. Canadian exports to some of these trading partners (such as the EU and China) should grow at a healthy pace in the coming years.
Weak demand within Canada and a Canadian dollar trading below 80 cents U.S. have weighed on import activity over the past two years. However, higher commodity prices and a moderate increase in business investment in 2017 should lift demand for goods and services within Canada, leading to rising imports.