Total exports were up 0.6 percent to $43.4 billion in August, with 6 of 11 sections recording gains. The overall rise was attributable to higher exports of consumer goods, metal and non-metallic mineral products, and energy products. These increases were offset by lower exports of motor vehicles and parts, and aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts. In August, exports excluding energy products were unchanged from the previous month. Year over year, total exports were down 2.5 percent.
Exports of consumer goods rose 7 percent as pharmaceutical and medicinal products led the increase, up 23.7 percent, the highest level since January 2016. Sales of Metal and non-metallic mineral products, up 6.2 percent led by unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys, up 13 percent. Exports of energy products also contributed to the overall increase in August, rising 4.4 percent. In contrast, exports of motor vehicles and parts fell 5.8 percent following a 7.3 percent increase in July. Passenger cars and light trucks were the main source of the decline, down 8.9 percent. This decrease coincided with atypical shutdowns at some Canadian automobile manufacturing plants in August. Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts also fell, down 16.2 percent. Exports of aircraft contributed the most to the decline, decreasing 34.8 percent, the lowest level since January 2016.
Total imports for August were largely unchanged at $45.3 billion, as advances in five sections were offset by declines in the six remaining sections. Higher imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products, consumer goods, and motor vehicles and parts were counterbalanced by lower imports of energy products. On a year-over-year basis, imports were down 3.3 percent.
Imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products rose 8.6 percent, the strongest monthly gain since August 2015. Unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys led the advance, up 52.7 percent, mainly on higher imports of gold and silver. Imports of consumer goods rose 0.9 percent, as volumes were up 2.1 percent, while prices decreased 1.2 percent. Imports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products contributed the most to the increase, up 10.0percent. Purchases of motor vehicles and parts also increased, up 0.8percent as passenger cars and light trucks rose 3.8 percent to a record high. This gain was partly offset by imports of medium and heavy trucks, buses and other motor vehicles, which fell 16.9 percent, the lowest level since December 2013. Offsetting these gains, imports of energy products fell 16.6 percent, following five consecutive monthly increases. Imports of crude oil and crude bitumen decreased 16.3 percent on lower volumes (-8.7 percent) and prices (-8.3 percent). Imports of refined petroleum energy products also declined, down 23.4 percent, mostly on lower volumes.