Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Christian Sivière, President - Solimpex Montréal and Ottawa
Canada's merchandise trade balance with the world was in a rare surplus position in May, the second time since December 2016, as exports of goods rose 4.6% while imports were up only 1%. Overall Canadian exports came to a record $53.1 billion, with motor vehicles and parts, aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts, and energy products contributing the most to the increase.
Canadian exports to the United States rose 3.7% to a record $39.3 billion, representing 74% of the total, while exports to other countries rose 7.3% to a record $13.8 billion, partly due to an increase in exports to Saudi Arabia (other transportation equipment), Japan (copper, coal), South Korea (metal ores) and the Netherlands (energy products, iron ores) while a significant decline in exports to the United Kingdom (gold) partially offset these increases. Exports to the UK, Canada’s third largest market, following the US and China, and slightly ahead of Japan, came to 1.2 billion in May or 2.25% of total Canadian exports.
While statistics vary greatly from month to month, influenced by large individual contracts and seasonal fluctuations, let us look at the big picture and at the main commodities traditionally exported from Canada to the UK.
Merchandise exports from Canada to the UK totalled $15.64 billion in 2018, compared to $17.13 billion in 2017 and the ten top commodities exported were:
Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof: $12.8 billion, representing a whopping 75% of the total;
Mineral products: $809 million;
Machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment and parts: $680 million;
Base metals and articles of base metals: $596 million;
Vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment: $547 million;
Wood and articles of wood: $370 million;
Vegetable products: $250 million;
Products of the chemical and allied industries: $247 million;
Optical, photographic, measuring, checking, precisions, medical instruments and apparatus: $187 million;
Prepared foodstuffs; beverages and spirits; tobacco: $136 million.
As we can see from the above, Canadian exports to the UK remain dominated by resource industries and in a subsequent article, we will look at what products Canada imports from the United Kingdom.