Statistics Canada says exports saw a slight decline and household spending slowed for a second straight quarter. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Statistics Canada reports trade deficit shrank to $3.2 billion in March

Mendes said a slowdown in exports in the first quarter appears to have been partially tied to oil production restraint in Alberta

Canada’s trade deficit shrank in March but not as much as expected as exports, led by the energy sector, climbed higher.

Statistics Canada said Thursday the merchandise trade deficit for March amounted to $3.2 billion compared with $3.4 billion in February.

Economists had expected a deficit of $2.45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

“The headline trade deficit looked ugly in March, but the details were at least slightly prettier,” CIBC economist Royce Mendes wrote in a report.

Mendes said a slowdown in exports in the first quarter appears to have been partially tied to oil production restraint in Alberta.

“But, even outside of that sector, growth in outbound shipments has been sluggish in recent years, suggesting the need for a weaker Canadian dollar over the medium-term to increase Canada’s international competitiveness,” he said.

Canadian exports rose 3.2 per cent to $49 billion.

READ MORE: BMO CEO says Canada’s economic growth ‘moderating’, but ‘no screeching halt’

The growth came as exports of energy products rose 7.7 per cent to $9.6 billion in March and motor vehicles and parts gained 5.6 per cent at $7.7 billion.

Meanwhile, imports rose 2.5 per cent to $52.3 billion, as consumer goods posted the largest increase.

Imports of consumer goods rose 6.7 per cent in March to a record $10.9 billion, boosted by imports of clothing, footwear and accessories. Imports of motor vehicles and parts rose 4.9 per cent to $9.9 billion.

Breaking down the trade figures by region, Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States hit a record $6.8 billion in March compared with $6.4 billion in February.

Exports to countries other than the United States rose 8.8 per cent in March to $12.7 billion, while imports from those countries rose eight per cent in March to $19.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States increased to $3.6 billion in March from $3 billion in February.

Exports to the United States rose 1.3 per cent to $36.4 billion, while imports from the United States fell 0.4 per cent.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

Hardy Bay Seniors’ Centre doubling down to build community during COVID-19

The volunteer-run group is cooking meals and checking in on isolated seniors

Three weekly direct flights from Port Hardy to Vancouver starting June 1

Direct between Bella Bella and Vancouver not resuming at this time

UPDATE: Local taxi company applying to opertate north island bus route

Waivin’ Flags Taxi wants to operate Route 5 between Cambpell River and Port Hardy

Change in service: Port Hardy is switching from bi-weekly garbage pick up to weekly schedule

The cost for the weekly garbage pick up service is an additional $30.12 annually.

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read