Paintings and sculptures sent to an arts fair in New York were the unlikely cause of an increase in Canadian exports in October.

Without the artwork, the month-over-month increase in exports of 0.7% would have disappeared, Scotiabank Economics says in a report.

“I can do no more justice to how bizarre Canada’s trade figures have become than to directly quote StatsCan,” writes Derek Holt, Scotiabank’s Vice-President & Head of Capital Markets Economics.

“’Exports of consumer goods rose 5.5% in October, mainly on higher exports of miscellaneous goods and supplies. This category, which includes a wide variety of products, posted a significant increase of $532 million in October as a result of higher exports of artwork such as paintings and sculptures.

"These fine art pieces were destined to an art fair in New York that began at the end of October. Items that do not sell could be brought back and subsequently included in Canada's import statistics. Total exports excluding miscellaneous goods and supplies were down 0.3%’.”

Other than for art lovers, there isn’t much to celebrate in the latest export figures, Holt says. Read his full report here.