Canada's merchandise exports rose 3.1% to $33.8 billion in October, on the strength of industrial goods and materials, as exports of precious metals and copper ores reached record highs. Excluding industrial goods and materials, exports declined 0.2%.
Exports of agricultural and fishing products as well as automotive products also grew in October. In contrast, declines were recorded in exports of machinery and equipment and energy products.
Export volumes increased 3.0% and prices edged up 0.1% during the month.
Imports increased 1.2% to $35.5 billion, as import volumes grew 1.7% while prices declined 0.5%. Import volumes have been on an upward trend since March 2009.
Energy products led the growth in overall imports, followed by automotive products and other consumer goods. These gains were moderated by a decline in imports of industrial goods and materials.
As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed to $1.7 billion in October from $2.3 billion in September.
Exports to the United States increased 0.4% while imports grew 1.7%. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States declined from $1.4 billion in September to $1.1 billion in October, the smallest trade surplus with the United States since September 1992.
Exports to countries other than the United States rose 10.1% to $10.1 billion, their highest level since November 2008, while imports edged up 0.3%. Therefore, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States declined from $3.7 billion in September to $2.8 billion in October.
Metals and metals ores lead the growth in exports
Exports of industrial goods and materials rose 13.7% to $8.9 billion, their highest level since November 2008. Volumes accounted for almost two-thirds of the gain. Metals and alloys increased 17.8%, as exports of precious metals reached a record high of $1.6 billion in October. Metal ores rose by 48.9%, led by record exports of copper ores. Other ores, namely precious metals in ores, and nickel ores also contributed to the growth in the sector.
Exports of agricultural and fishing products increased 7.5% to $3.2 billion, their highest level since June 2009. The growth mainly resulted from a 5.8% rise in volumes. Exports of other crude vegetables, namely soya beans, posted solid gains during the month.
After four months of decline, exports of automotive products increased 3.5% to $4.9 billion, as a result of higher volumes. Exports of passenger autos rose 2.0%, following an 11.0% decline the previous month. Trucks and other motor vehicles increased, mainly reflecting higher exports of snowmobiles.
In contrast, exports of machinery and equipment fell 2.5% to $6.6 billion, as volumes decreased. The decline was a result of a 24.2% decrease in exports of aircraft, engines and parts.
Energy products exports decreased 2.6% to $6.4 billion, as prices fell 8.8% while volumes grew. Lower exports of natural gas were the main factor behind the decline, reflecting a drop in prices. Exports of crude petroleum rose 2.8% and moderated the decrease in the sector.
Higher volumes of energy products boost imports
Imports of energy products rose 8.3% to $3.4 billion, as volumes increased 8.5%. Imports of petroleum and coal products accounted for the increase in the sector, reflecting higher imports of motor gasoline. Imports of crude petroleum, down 4.7%, declined for a second consecutive month.
Imports of automotive products grew 1.5% to $5.6 billion, a result of higher volumes. After four months of decline, imports of motor vehicle parts rose 2.9% and accounted for over three quarters of the gain in the sector. Imports of trucks and other motor vehicles also increased, reflecting the demand for full size pick ups.
Other consumer goods imports increased 1.2% to $5.0 billion, as volumes grew 2.7%. Imports of miscellaneous consumer goods, which include diverse items such as photographic goods and house furnishings, led the gain. Imports of apparel and footwear, up for an eighth consecutive month, also contributed to the gain in October.
Machinery and equipment imports remained relatively unchanged (+0.1%) at $10.1 billion, although volumes rose 0.5%. Other transportation equipment, namely ships and boats, increased during the month as new tariff relief measures came into effect in October.
Imports of industrial goods and material declined 2.6% to $7.4 billion, mainly a result of lower volumes. The decrease was led by other iron and steel products, specifically casing, tubing and drill pipe used in drilling for oil and gas. Other chemicals and related products, and organic chemicals including medicinal ingredients, also declined.