Crude oil & bitumen exports declined by 7.4%
Canada’s trade deficit reached $3.6 billion in June – the most recent month for which statistics are available.
Economists had predicted a deficit of just $1.35 billion. Additionally, the trade deficit for May was worse than originally reported, $1.36 billion instead of $1.09 billion.
Of particular concern was the 7.4% decline in crude oil and bitumen exports, the fourth month in a row in which they fell. Stats Canada went out of their way to note that a decline in June is unexpected, since oil exports generally increase in that month.
In total, Canadian exports fell in 9 of 11 sectors. Metals and minerals saw a decline as well.
Exports had reached a record level in May – though we still imported more than we exported. Imports reached a record level in June. Considering our increasing population, seeing record imports and exports is no surprise – what matters is the gap.
Running a trade deficit has a negative impact on the economy, weakening the quality of jobs, and lowering wages. Additionally, it makes our economy more vulnerable when we produce fewer of the things we need here at home. This is often a sign of reduced competitiveness, and this is what we’re seeing in the energy sector.
The large decline in crude oil and bitumen exports is a serious concern. It’s also a logical consequence of carbon taxes, bureaucracy, and increased regulation. The federal government and some provincial governments are strangling our energy industry, which has the perverse impact of making us more reliant on energy from countries that have weaker environmental and labour standards than we do.
Until we reverse the dangerous expansion of the regulatory state, Canada’s economic vulnerability and competitive weakness will remain a serious problem.