Canadian Packaging

Canada's trade surplus widens in February


April 14, 2010
by Purchasingb2b Staff

<a href="http://www.canadianmanufacturing.com/mmd/news/supplychainnews/jan_trade_lg.gif" rel="lightbox" title="Canada’s trade surplus continued to grow in January. Source: Statistics Canada.“>

Canada’s trade surplus continued to grow in January. Source: Statistics Canada. Click the image to enlarge.

Canada’s merchandise imports and exports increased in February from January.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada imported merchandise worth $32.6 billion over the course of the month, up 0.9 percent from $32.3 billion a month earlier. Exports were even more bullish, climbing 2.8 percent to $34 billion from $33.1 billion in January, marking the fifth increase in six months.

This created a $1.4-billion trade surplus with the rest of the world—up from $754 million in January.

Exports

Among the seven export sectors, six posted gains in February.

Leading the pack was the industrial goods and materials sector, which saw a 7.2 percent uptick, largely on the strength metal ores, which spiked 36.5 percent.

The automotive products sector was the second strongest in February, posting a five-percent increase in sales. Exports of passenger autos climbed 9.4 percent as some manufacturers resumed production after January shutdowns.

The forestry products and agricultural and fishing products sectors were up 2.1 percent and two percent, respectively, while the energy products and machinery and equipment sectors edged up by less than a percentage point.

The other consumer goods sector was the only one to post a decrease in February, with exports down 1.4 percent.

“With six of seven export sectors gaining, Cana¬dian exporters appear to be receiving a decent bounce from the rebound in global trade and gain in commodity prices,” commented economist Grant Bishop of TD Economics.

Imports

While six of the seven sectors also reported gains on the import ledger, a 14.2 percent plunge in imports of energy products tempered the overall growth. This was largely due to an 18.1 percent decline in crude petroleum imports (caused by production disruptions and maintenance at some refineries) and a 16.5 percent drop in coal and other related products (spurred by lower volumes of natural gas).

Imports of forestry products were up 7.3 percent.

Imports of automotive products increased 3.5 percent thanks to a 9.8 percent boost in passenger autos.

Machinery and equipment imports increased 3.3 percent, as Canadians purchased particularly high volumes of industrial and agricultural machinery.

“Although one must be careful in inferring a trend from one month of pick-up in [machinery and equipment] imports, the im¬provement corroborates improved investment intentions for Q1/2010, as exhibited in the Bank of Canada’s Business Out¬look Survey,” said Bishop.

“The rise in the Loonie and dampened stateside price growth has markedly improved the cost of imported [machinery and equipment], and firms would be expected to take advantage.”

Regional breakdowns

Canadian exports continued to dominate Canada-US trade in February. Exports to the US climbed two percent, largely on the strength of automotive products, while imports grew 1.2 percent.

As a result, Canada posted a $4.4 billion trade surplus with the US, up from $4.2 billion in January.

Exports to countries other than the US rose 5.2 percent, while imports edged up 0.2 percent. Consequently, Canada’s trade deficit narrowed to $3 billion in February from $3.4 billion in January.