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October 11, 2018
Canada's trade balance reaches a $526 million surplus in August
Statistics Canada announced that the country's merchandise trade balance with the world was in a surplus position for the first time since December 2016. The $526 million surplus followed a $189 million deficit in July.
The federal agency reports that total exports decreased 1.1% to $50.5 billion in August. Following a 7.9% increase from May to July, exports of motor vehicles and parts fell 6.2% to $7.4 billion. Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 6.2% to $5.4 billion, the third consecutive monthly decrease. These decreases were partially offset by a 20.1% increase in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals.
Total imports also declined, by 2.5% to $50.0 billion in August. Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts were down 27.8% to $1.3 billion, the third consecutive monthly decrease. Imports of consumer goods decreased 3.7% to $10.5 billion in August. Also contributing to the overall decrease were lower imports of motor vehicles and parts, down 3.8% to $9.0 billion.
On a per country basis, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $5.5 billion in July to $4.8 billion, contributing to the movement of the overall trade balance from a deficit to a surplus in August. Imports from those countries fell 4.5% to $17.6 billion in August, the third consecutive monthly decline. Many countries contributed to the decrease, including China (various products), Brazil (bauxite), Belgium (pharmaceutical and medicinal products), Algeria (crude oil) and the Netherlands (motor gasoline). These declines were partially offset by higher imports from Switzerland (copper). Exports to countries other than the United States were down 0.9% to $12.8 billion. Lower exports to the United Kingdom were behind the decline, principally on decreased exports of unwrought gold and crude oil. Gains in exports to India (copper ores and potash) and South Korea (copper ores) partially offset the decline.
Exports to the United States declined 1.2% to $37.7 billion, mainly on lower exports of passenger cars and light trucks and imports from the United States decreased 1.3% to $32.4 billion, mostly on lower imports of aircraft.. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States in August was essentially unchanged at $5.3 billion. The trade surpluses in July and August were the largest since October 2008.
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