Weakness in exports was concentrated in trade with the United States. Exports to the United States declined 2.8% to $32.2 billion in October, while imports from the United States edged down 0.3% to $30.6 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $2.4 billion in September to $1.6 billion in October.
Total exports decreased 1.8% to $43.0 billion in October. There were declines in 10 of 11 sections, with the largest in farm, fishing and intermediate food products; basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products; metal ores and non-metallic minerals; and metal and non-metallic mineral products. Exports excluding energy products were down 2.1%. Year over year, total exports declined 3.5%.
Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products fell 7.3% to $2.5 billion on lower volumes. The main contributor was lower exports of canola, down 33.6% to $319 million.
Basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products declined 5.6% to $2.8 billion. Volumes declined 4.9% and prices were down 0.7%. Exports of dyes and pigments; petrochemicals (-20.5%), basic chemicals (-8.2%), and lubricants and other petroleum refinery products (-14.7%) decreased in October.
Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals fell 9.4% to $1.5 billion. The main contributor to the decline was copper ores and concentrates, down 24.5% to $242 million on lower volumes.
Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products decreased 2.2% to $4.6 billion in October. Following a $109 million increase in September, exports of unwrought copper and copper alloys fell $110 million to reach $119 million in October.
Total imports declined 0.8% to $45.7 billion in October. Imports fell in 7 of 11 sections, led by consumer goods. Year over year, imports increased 1.5%.
Imports of consumer goods decreased 3.3% to $9.9 billion. Overall, volumes declined 3.1% and prices were down 0.2%. There were lower imports of pharmaceutical and medicinal products (-10.1%) and miscellaneous goods and supplies (-4.9%) in October. Year over year, imports in this section were up 7.0%.
Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts were down 3.1% to $5.3 billion on lower volumes. There were widespread declines in imports throughout the section, led by communications and audio and video equipment (-3.8%) and computers and computer peripheral equipment (-6.6%).
Energy products fell 6.8% to $2.3 billion, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Imports of natural gas liquids and related products were down $123 million to reach $55 million in October. Imports of crude oil and crude bitumen declined 9.2% to $1.0 billion, the lowest value since September 2003. These declines were partly offset by a 29.8% increase in imports of natural gas to $272 million. For the section overall, prices fell 8.8% while volumes were up 2.2%.
These declines were moderated by a 3.6% increase in imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products to $3.7 billion in October. For the section overall, volumes rose 3.8%. Imports of unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys increased 13.1% to $727 million. Imports of unwrought copper and copper alloys rose $51 million to reach $94 million in October.