Gas and Oil

Canada’s Great Economic Divide, In One Chart

Canada no longer knows how to sell anything to the world except oil and gas. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but if things keep going the way they are, it won’t be for long. StatsCan’s latest numbers on Canada’s trade balance, released Thursday, look positive on the face of it: Exports and imports both grew, and Canada’s trade deficit with the world shrank by more than half, to $435 million. But dig a little deeper into the data, and what you see is a story of two different export sectors. As BMO chief economist Doug Porter put it in a client note Friday morning, “there is energy (doing just fine) and there is everything else (doing anything but fine).” While energy exports have seen a $63.6-billion surplus for the past 12 months, everything else has seen a $72.9-billion deficit. Check out this chart of Canada’s trade balance for energy (blue) and everything else (red).

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission