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Merchandise Trade Balance Slips into a Deficit Position in July

Sep 04, 2019

Ottawa, September 4, 2019— “With exports falling and imports rising, Canada's merchandise trade balance slipped into a $1.1 billion deficit position in July.” says Doris Chu, a Senior Economist with the Conference Board of Canada.  “After powering the economy in the second quarter, Canada’s merchandise trade sector lost some steam in July as exports declined for the second month in a row. A modest outlook is in store for Canada’s trade sector over the near term as escalating global tensions continue to cast a dark cloud of uncertainty over the global landscape.”

Insights:

  • Pulled down by lower exports of crude oil and wheat, Canada’s merchandise exports fell for the second month in a row, declining by 0.9 per cent in July. Excluding energy products, exports were up 0.5 per cent.
  • Following a sharp decline in June, merchandise imports increased by 1.2 per cent in July. Gains were widespread, driven in large part by higher imports of consumer goods and aircraft and other transportation equipment.
  • Exports to the United States declined by 1.1 per cent in July, while imports were up 1.6 per cent. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $5.5 billion in June to $4.6 million July.
  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States inched up from $5.6 billion in June to $5.7 billion in July. Exports contracted by 0.3 per cent due to lower exports of metal ores and pork to China, while imports from countries other than the United States increased by 0.5 per cent, with higher imports of pharmaceutical products from Switzerland and Belgium.
  • Eliminating the price effects, exports volumes declined by 0.1 per cent for the month, while imports were up 2.3 per cent. With imports outpacing exports by a wide margin, net exports took a sizeable bite out of real GDP growth in July.

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