OTTAWA, Ont.–According to this week’s EDC export monitor, Canadian exports declined in August, reversing the previous two months of solid growth, – the decline was 3.6% for the month, and for through the first eight months of 2015, total exports are down 1.5% compared to the same period in 2014. The decline was broad-based with 6 of 11 categories falling and non-energy exports falling by 1.5%. The decline in exports was the most since 2012, said the monitor.
Canada’s trade deficit expanded from $817 million in July to $2.5 billion in August. The fall in exports accounted for almost the entirety of this increase as imports were essentially flat for the month (0.2%).
Weakness in global commodity prices continued to hit most commodity exports hard, with energy exports declining by nearly 15% in August, even though export volumes increased (2.0%). Metals and non-metallic mineral product exports fell by almost 10%.
Forest products were the exception to the weakness in commodities, with exports increasing by 4.8%. However, this may have been the result of a pull forward in demand in advance of the expiry of the softwood lumber agreement with the US in the fall, said EDC.
Canada’s exports to the United States declined (-3.0%) for August. Through the first eight months of 2015, Canadian exports to the US trail those from the same period last year by nearly 2% with the lower prices for energy contributing significantly to the decline.