Canadian exports hit record high in March as trade deficit narrows

Canadian exports hit record high in March

OTTAWA — The energy and consumer goods sectors helped Canadian exports rise to a record high in March as the country’s trade deficit narrowed to $135 million, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

Economists had expected a deficit of $800 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

“This is a solid report,” said Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets.

The shortfall followed a revised deficit of $1.1 billion for February compared with an initial reading of a deficit of $972 million for the month.

Gains in eight of 11 sectors in March helped exports rise 3.8 per cent to $47.0 billion, while volumes gained 2.5 per cent and prices increased 1.3 per cent.

Driving the gain was a 7.0 per cent increase in energy exports to $8.7 billion. A boost in natural gas exports attributable to cold temperatures in the northeastern United States and increased coal exports to Asia were both factors.

“Combined with a continued creep higher in crude prices, look for energy to continue being a catalyst in supporting Canadian exports,” CIBC economist Nick Exarhos wrote in a report.

Consumer goods exports also gained ground, climbing 6.8 per cent to $6.1 billion. Exports of other food products led the increase with a gain of 11.9 per cent to a record $1.4 billion, boosted by exports of yellow peas and red lentils to India.

On the other side of the equation, imports increased 1.7 per cent to $47.1 billion with gains in seven of 11 sectors. Prices rose 1.9 per cent and volumes fell 0.2 per cent.

Statistics Canada said higher imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products, industrial machinery, equipment and parts, and motor vehicles and parts were the main contributors.

Metal and non-metallic mineral product imports grew 10.4 per cent to $4.0 billion as unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys rose 61.1 per cent.

Imports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts increased 4.1 per cent to $4.4 billion, while motor vehicles and parts gained 1.5 per cent to reach a record high $9.3 billion.

On a regional basis, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States slipped to $4 billion in March compared with $4.5 billion in February.

Exports to the United States edged up 0.1 per cent to $34.4 billion, while imports from the United States increased 2.0 per cent to $30.4 billion.

Meanwhile, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed to $4.1 billion in March from $5.6 billion in February.

Craig Wong, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Alert Bay, Sointula Sailings affected by bad weather

BC Ferries is holding the Quadra Queen II in dock this morning

Minor Earthquake strikes near Port Hardy

M 4.7 182km SW of Port Hardy

Viral video shows deer killed on Snapchat in Campbell River

RCMP say they have identified those involved and are working with conservation officers

Vancouver Island Firefighters Association Fall Training Seminar

Port Hardy Fire Rescue hosted the Vancouver Island Firefighters Association Fall Training Seminar.

‘Sisters of Song’ choir brings joy to Port Alice singers

“Music is an extreme source of joy for a lot of people.”

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found to appear in court

A rally will be held on the Vernon courthouse steps prior to Curtis Sagmoen’s appearance

B.C. snow plow operator helps save elderly man

The 73-year-old man had fallen at his isolated home, and finally was able to call for help

Wildlife group challenges B.C.’s interpretation of law on destroying bears

Fur-Bearers are challenging a conservation officer’s decision to kill a bear cub near Dawson Creek

Tourism numbers continue to climb in B.C.

The majority of international travellers to British Columbia are coming from Australia

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

VIDEO: Search for missing B.C. dog walker remains a ‘rescue effort’

Annette Poitras was last seen walking three dogs on Monday afternoon

Accused in violent Kamloops burglary charged with attempted murder

Accused in violent Kamloops burglary, home invasion charged with attempted murder; victim remains in hospital

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read