Canadian export performance boosted by China
Canadian trade with China has shown strong growth in the first quarter of 2016 and, similar to the United States, more than quadrupled to become its second largest market, with a 22% share.
Total Canadian exports were up by 12% as it cut back on shipments to other markets, especially in Asia, notably South Korea and Taiwan, and Australia. Trade with the United States was down marginally. Canada also now has a significant and growing share of the Chinese import market and in the first quarter of 2016 accounted for 10 per cent of total Chinese trade.
The average price of Canadian exports was unchanged compared with January-March 2015 and so the value of exports also increased by 12%, to C$781 million. This was in spite of a 16% rise in price on its trade with the United States but offset by the much lower average price and increased importance of the Chinese market. The ongoing weakening of the Canadian dollar contributed to the good export situation as in US dollars the average export price was as much as 9% lower.
Increased pig slaughterings contributed to the growth in pork exports; in the first quarter of 2016 they were up 3% on a year earlier and amounted to 5.45 million. This was in spite of the 12% increase in live exports, to 1.46 million, the highest level since the first quarter of 2009. This comes as US country of origin labelling (COOL) regulations are no longer being implemented. The pig herd is rising in Canada, helped by the good export performance, and numbers on 1 January were up 1% on a year earlier. The breeding herd and pig crop were also both up by one per cent indicating that further increases in slaughterings can be expected. USDA forecasts for 2016 indicate a rise of two per cent in pork production in Canada, with exports also expected to rise, to a new record.
Lionel Colby, Consultant