Merchandise trade surplus $3.1 billion in November, Statistics Canada reports

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OTTAWA — Canada's merchandise trade surplus rose to $3.1 billion in November, despite the disruptions caused by flooding and landslides in B.C., Statistics Canada said Thursday.

The agency said the result compared with a revised surplus of $2.3 billion for October which was initially estimated at $2.1 billion.

Bank of Montreal economist Shelly Kaushik said nine of the first 11 months of 2021 were in the black, the most since 2008, putting the full year on course for the first surplus since 2014.

"Broader trade activity surged in November, with exports and imports increasing despite the devastating B.C. floods," Kaushik wrote in a report.

"While the transportation impact could linger into the coming months, this report adds to the evidence that the economy had strong momentum ahead of further restrictions in December."

Statistics Canada said exports from B.C. in November fell 7.8 per cent, however exports from other Canadian provinces rose 11 per cent. It noted that the disruptions due to the flooding were less apparent in import data because while damage to highways and railways in B.C. limited the movement of goods further inland, operations to unload goods from container ships were not heavily impacted.

For November, overall exports rose 3.8 per cent in November to $58.6 billion.

Exports of consumer goods climbed nine per cent in November to $7.3 billion as large shipments of COVID-19 medication came into Canada for packaging and labelling and were subsequently exported. Exports of basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products increased 14.7 per cent to $3.8 billion.

Meanwhile, imports rose 2.4 per cent in November to $55.4 billion.

Imports of consumer goods rose 5.2 per cent in November to $12.3 billion, while imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products climbed 7.3 per cent to nearly $5 billion.

Regionally, Statistics Canada said the country's trade surplus with the United States increased to $9.8 billion in November, its highest level since January 2006.

Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. in October was $8.8 billion.

Meanwhile, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States was $6.7 billion in November compared with $6.5 billion in October.

In a separate release, Statistics Canada said the country's international trade in services deficit narrowed to $230 million in November compared with $520 million in October.

Exports of services rose 2.9 per cent to $11.7 billion, while imports of services edged up 0.3 per cent to $11.9 billion.

Canada's trade surplus for goods and services combined was $2.9 billion in November compared with $1.7 billion in October.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2022.

Craig Wong, The Canadian Press

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