Canadian International Merchandise Trade (Balance of Payments Basis)
Summary of changes
Activity on this program started: January 1971
This month's release for the Canadian international merchandise trade data was delayed. Statistics Canada sources its data on Canada's exports to the United States from the US Census Bureau (USCB), and the shutdown of the US government from December 22nd 2018 to January 25th 2019 resulted in a delay in the transmission of the data files from the USCB to Statistics Canada. As a result, Statistics Canada had to postpone the release of data for the December 2018 reference month. The January, February and March 2019 reference month releases were also delayed.
This month's release is the last Canadian international merchandise trade data release based on the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) 2007. As of the October 2018 reference month, Canadian international merchandise trade data releases will be based on the new NAPCS 2017, version 1.0.
Revised data based on NAPCS 2017 for the reference period of January 1988 to December 2014 will be disseminated on November 21, 2018. On December 6, 2018 revised data for the reference period of January 2015 to October 2018 will be available.
This month's release is the last Canadian international merchandise trade data release based on summary import groups (SIG) and the summary export groups (SEG) classification structure. As of the September 2012 reference month, Canadian international merchandise trade data releases will be based on the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS).
Revised data based on NAPCS for the reference period of January 1988 to August 2012 were disseminated on October 18, 2012.
Statistics Canada has reduced the number of 10-digit Harmonized Commodity Coding and Description System (HS) classification codes that are used to report the commodity detail in Canada's merchandise import trade data.
Changes take effect in January 2012 to coincide with the World Customs Organization 2012 amendments to the 6-digit HS classification codes as well as with Finance Canada's changes to the 2012 Customs Tariff at the 8-digit HS codes.
Beginning with the January 2008 reference month, the previous year's customs and balance of payments data (i.e., 2007) will now be revised with the release of the January, February and March data months. Revisions to customs-based data for the previous year will continue to be released on a quarterly basis. Revisions to customs-based data for the three previous years will be available when the December reference month is released.
Revisions and seasonal adjustment - A larger-than-usual adjustment has been made to the previously published data on merchandise trade related to the rapid appreciation of the Canadian dollar in the second quarter. Export values have been revised up by $1 billion and $2.6 billion for the first two quarters of 2003, respectively, via a balance of payments adjustment.
The use of a single set of customs documents as the basis for trade data in each of the national currencies requires exchange rate conversions at various points in the data processing. When exchange rates are stable or shift gradually, this presents little problem; however, the second quarter saw the largest exchange rate shift in a single quarter in over half a century. When the trade data were reconciled with production and income data used to compile the quarterly national accounts GDP figures, discrepancies emerged, in part as a result of the exchange rate conversions inherent in the calculation of trade statistics.
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