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    Québec’s international merchandise exports down 8.5% in 2020

    Québec, February 24, 2021. – Québec’s seasonally adjusted international merchandise exports in constant dollars were up 1.0% in December 2020 from the previous month. For 2020 as a whole, exports decreased by 8.5% from 2019. This sharp decline is related to the effects of the pandemic, which were particularly severe last spring.

    Nearly a third of the drop in Québec’s total exports in 2020 was due to aircraft and aircraft engines and parts. Some of the main commodities that contributed to the decrease in total exports include aircraft (-19.0%), heavy fuel oils (-73.9%), aircraft engines (-25.4%), and medical and laboratory equipment (-54.8%).

    In contrast, Québec exports of basic organic chemicals not elsewhere classified (+175.9%), iron ores and concentrates (+10.6%), oilseeds (except canola) (+63.5%), and parts of electronic equipment not elsewhere classified (+42.9%) increased the most in 2020.

    Québec’s international merchandise imports down 15.4% in 2020

    Québec’s seasonally adjusted international merchandise imports in constant dollars were down 1.1% in December 2020 from the previous month. For 2020 as a whole, imports declined 15.4% from 2019. This decrease, like the decline in exports, was mainly due to the pandemic.

    Energy products and motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts accounted for 75.7% of the drop in total imports in 2020. This decline was mainly due to motor gasoline (-49.6%), conventional crude oil (-27.7%), passenger cars and chassis (-34.9%), and light-duty trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles (-15.6%).

    On the other hand, imports of unwrought gold, silver, and platinum group metals, and their alloys (+394.5%), medical, dental and personal safety supplies (+98.9%), textile products not elsewhere classified (+154.2%) and bauxite and aluminum oxide (+21.7%) posted the largest increases in 2020.

    The situation in Canada

    According to data published by Statistics Canada on February 5, Canada’s seasonally adjusted merchandise exports in constant dollars declined 1.0% in December 2020 from the previous month. For their part, Canadian merchandise imports were down 1.4% in December.

    In 2020, compared with 2019, Canada’s merchandise exports decreased by 6.7%, while its merchandise imports declined by 9.4%.

    International merchandise exports and imports1 (percentage change)

      2019   2020
      Annual change   Monthly change2 Cumulative change
          November December  

    Exports 0.4   3.0 1.0 -8.5
    Imports 0.0   2.8 -1.1 -15.4
    Exports 2.3   1.1 -1.0 -6.7
    Imports 0.3   -0.2 -1.4 -9.4

    1. In constant dollars, at 2012 prices.
    2. Seasonally adjusted.
    Sources: Institut de la statistique du Québec and Statistics Canada.

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    Next release: March 18, 2021

    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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