INDUSTRY PULSE: Imports improve, exports slip in July

by Canadian Shipper

Imports rebounded but exports slipped in July in the wake of summer shutdowns and decreased demand for goods in the United States.

Exports halted a string of five consecutive monthly increases, declining 1.2% to $37.7 billion, according to data collected by Statistics Canada.

Meanwhile, Canadian companies imported $31.4 billion worth of merchandise, up 2.8% over June, primarily a result of higher than seasonal demand for automotive products and soaring prices for energy products. The increase follows a decline in June from record levels of imports recorded in May.

Demand for goods faltered south of the border, as exports to the United States fell by 1.2%. At the same time, Canadians purchased 4.1% more from American firms.

"Canadian exporters have diversified the destination of their goods over the past two years. While the United States remains Canada’s dominant trading partner, the share of goods destined for south of the border has declined from a high of 85% just two years ago to 81% in July," noted Statistics Canada in its report on the July figures.

Exports to China have expanded by 58% in the first seven months of 2004 compared with 2003. This makes China the fourth most common destination for Canadian exports after the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Exports to countries other than the United States fell slightly to $7.1 billion, while imports edged up to $9.6 billion. As a result, Canada’s non-US trade deficit increased slightly to $2.5 billion.

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