Canada’s merchandise trade surplus widened to CAD $2.1 billion in October—a 10-year high—as exports of motor vehicles and parts as well as energy surged, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday.
Both exports and imports rose, especially in trading with the United States, primarily because of the automotive industry. October’s figure was an increase from September’s downwardly revised surplus of CAD $1.42 billion.
The automotive industry, which has been affected by supply chain bottlenecks, had a turnaround as exports of motor vehicles and parts rose by 30.8% from September, while imports rose by 5.3%, accounting for most of the growth in total imports.
Although there are signs that the worst of the semiconductor chip shortages might be passing, trade in this sector has fluctuated widely. Exports in October were still much lower than pre-pandemic levels and it will take more time for the industry to fully rebound.
Energy exports reached record highs in October, with crude oil exports rising by 11.6% and coal exports rising by a stunning 62.8%. Strong global energy demand and high energy prices contributed to this trend.
The floods in British Columbia disrupted transportation via ships, rail and highways. Trade in and out of Vancouver, the largest port on Canada’s West Coast, was profoundly affected, particularly with Asian countries.
We expect trade data for November and December to reflect these disruptions across sectors and product categories.