May 8, 2023

Canada Returns To Trade Surplus While U.S. Deficit Contracts

Connecting the Dots monitors all major economic announcements in the United States and Canada, but MSCI also offers industrial metals industry-specific data products that provide much deeper analysis and insight. Visit MSCI’s website and click on industry data to learn more about our Metals Activity Report (MAR)Momentum Monitors, and Economic Pulse. Meanwhile, here are the major economic headlines from the last week:

  • The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March due to the fact that exports of goods, including industrial supplies, rose. Specifically, the U.S. monthly international trade deficit fell from $70.6 billion in February to $64.2 billion. The goods deficit decreased $6.4 billion in March to $86.6 billion. The services surplus decreased less than $0.1 billion in March to $22.4 billion.
  • Canada’s trade surplus rose to C$972 million ($714 million) in March, a level that was above analyst forecasts that had predicted a C$200 million surplus, and that was a reversal from February’s C$487 million deficit. Still, Canada’s imports and exports were at lows not seen in a year. Total exports fell 0.7 percent in March, largely on cheaper energy products, while imports declined 2.9 percent. Read the full report here.
  • U.S. nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2023. Output rose 0.2 percent and hours worked increased three percent. Unit labor costs rose 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2023, reflecting a 3.4 percent increase in hourly compensation and a 2.7 percent decrease in productivity. Read the full report here.
  • New orders for U.S. manufactured goods rose 0.9 percent in March while shipments, down four of the last five months, fell another 0.1 percent. Unfilled orders rose 0.4 percent, but the unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio declined to 6.04 from 6.11 in February. Inventories fell 0.8 percent in March and the inventories-to-shipments ratio fell to 1.48 from 1.49 in February.
  • The U.S. economy added 253,000 jobs in April and the nation’s unemployment rate fell from 3.5 percent in March to 3.4 percent last month. Manufacturers added 11,000 jobs in April, bouncing back from a decline of 8,000 in March. Manufacturers have added 17,000 new positions so far in 2023. In other employment-related news: There were 9.3 million jobs open in the United States at the end of February. While that number was down from 10.9 million just two months before, in the United States there are still 3.75 million more openings than unemployed workers to fill them. The total number of job openings included 693,000 manufacturing job openings in March, a number that was down from 707,000 in February and at its lowest level since April 2021. Additionally, the number of individuals who continued to receive federal jobless benefits fell during the week of April 22. Read the full report here.
  • Canadian employers added 41,000 jobs in April, but all of the gains came from increases in part-time work. The nation’s unemployment rate remained at five percent, a level it has been at for five months and that is near the country’s all-time low of 4.9 percent. Read the full report here.

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