Canadian trade deficit narrows

Import volumes decreased 1.5% while prices rose 1.1%: StatsCan

Mario ToneguzziCanada’s merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed to $416 million in September from $551 million in August, as imports fell 0.4 per cent while exports edged down 0.2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

“Total imports fell 0.4 per cent to $50.8 billion in September, despite gains in six of 11 product sections. Import volumes decreased 1.5 per cent while prices rose 1.1 per cent. Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (mostly ships) and energy products contributed the most to the September decline. Year over year, total imports increased 8.5 per cent,” said the federal agency.

It said imports of energy products fell 11.5 per cent to $3 billion in September. Crude oil imports, down 13.2 per cent, led the decline, mainly due to lower imports from Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

“These decreases coincided with the beginning of maintenance work at certain Canadian refineries. Imports of refined petroleum energy products (-18.9 per cent) also contributed to the decline, primarily on lower imports of motor gasoline from the Netherlands. For the section as a whole, volumes were down 13.4 per cent, while prices rose 2.1 per cent,” added StatsCan.

The federal agency said exports edged down 0.2 per cent in September to $50.4 billion, despite increases in six of 11 product sections. Export volumes fell 1.2 per cent, while prices were up 1.1 per cent. Lower exports of consumer goods were mostly offset by higher exports of energy products. Exports excluding energy products fell 0.8 per cent, a second consecutive monthly decline. Year over year, total exports increased 15.7 per cent, explained Statistics Canada.

“Higher exports of energy products (+2.3 per cent) partially offset the overall decrease in September. Refined petroleum energy products (+10.6 per cent) were partly responsible for the increase, mostly on the strength of heavy fuel oil exports to the United States. Crude oil exports (+1.0 per cent) also contributed to the gain, the seventh straight monthly increase. Higher prices (+5.6 per cent) were behind the increase in crude oil exports in September, while volumes decreased 4.3 per cent. The volume of crude oil exports has risen three times in the past seven months.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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