Canada's merchandise exports grew 4.2% in September, while imports declined 0.3%. As a result, Canada's trade balance with the world went from a deficit of $487 million in August to a surplus of $1.2 billion in September. It was the first trade surplus since January 2011.
Exports and imports
Exports rose to $39.7 billion, the highest value since October 2008, as six of seven sectors posted gains in September. Prices, which rose 3.9%, were the main factor behind the increase. Volumes edged up 0.3%.
Imports decreased to $38.5 billion, as volumes fell 3.1% and prices increased 2.8%. The decline was led by lower imports of machinery and equipment as well as automotive products, as both sectors experienced a decline in volumes. Partly offsetting the decrease in imports were gains in two sectors: energy products, and industrial goods and materials. Prices rose in both sectors.
Exports to the United States increased 5.0% to $28.2 billion, the highest value since January 2011. Imports from the United States decreased 1.0% to $23.8 billion. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States rose from $2.8 billion in August to $4.4 billion in September.
Exports to countries other than the United States rose 2.3% to $11.5 billion, the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Imports from countries other than the United States rose 0.7% to $14.7 billion. Consequently, the trade deficit with countries other than the United States fell from $3.3 billion in August to $3.1 billion in September, the lowest level so far this year.
Energy sector leads gain in exports
Exports of energy products rose 11.3% to $9.6 billion in September, as prices increased 8.0%. Exports of petroleum and coal products rose 36.4% to $2.0 billion, the highest value since the peak in July 2008. This was mainly the result of a 23.3% increase in volumes, following the reopening of refineries after several months of shutdowns for maintenance and expansion. Crude petroleum also contributed to the gain, as prices increased 10.2%.
Exports of industrial goods and materials rose 3.4% to a record high of $10.5 billion in September. It was the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Gains in metal and alloys, and chemicals, plastics and fertilizers were largely responsible for the growth in the sector.
Exports of agricultural and fishing products increased 9.4% to $3.7 billion, the highest level since peaking in October 2008. Leading the sector was canola, which hit a record high of $444 million in September.
After four consecutive monthly increases, exports of machinery and equipment declined 4.9% to $7.0 billion in September. The decrease was mainly a result of aircraft and other transportation equipment, down 19.7%, as volumes fell 20.9%.
Lower volumes account for the decline in imports
Imports of machinery and equipment fell 3.3% to $10.2 billion in September, as three of the four sub-sectors reported declines. A 14.9% decline in aircraft and other transportation equipment contributed the most to the decrease, as volumes fell 15.2%.
Imports of automotive products decreased 5.5% to $5.9 billion in September, as volumes declined 6.3%. Passenger autos and chassis fell 10.9%, while trucks and other motor vehicles were down 9.0%.
Imports of energy products increased 5.7% to $4.3 billion, as prices rose 4.7%. Crude petroleum rose 9.9%, as some refineries resumed production following temporary shutdowns.
Imports of industrial goods and materials rose 2.6% to $8.6 billion. Metal and metal ores accounted for almost half of the gain, as imports of precious metals reached a record high of $1.4 billion in September.