Statistics Canada announced that the country’s merchandise imports decreased 2.9% in March, while exports were down 0.7%. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world moved from a (revised) $487 million deficit in February to a $972 million surplus in March.
The Federal Agency notes that imports of consumer goods (-11.0%) decreased the most in March, mainly because of lower imports of pharmaceutical products (-31.8%). Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts (-5.2%) also contributed to the decrease in March.
Exports of energy products decreased 5.9% in March, mainly because of lower exports of crude oil (-8.6%). While this was mostly the result of lower prices, crude oil export volumes also decreased in March. Other notable March declines were observed in the farm, fishing and intermediate food products (-5.3%) and the forestry products and building and packaging materials (-6.4%) product sections. Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts rose 30.8% in March, partially offsetting the overall decrease.
According to Statistics Canada, total exports were down 0.3% in the first quarter of 2023, mainly because of lower prices. Meanwhile, quarterly imports edged down 0.2%. However, in real terms (calculated using chained 2012 dollars), quarterly exports increased 3.5%, while imports decreased 0.4%.