Canada's trade deficit with the world narrowed in March to 135 million Canadican dollar (USD 98 million), as exports led by energy and consumer goods hit a record high, the government statistical agency said today.
The results were better than expected, as economists had forecast a 1 billion dollar deficit in the month - slightly less than the amount posted in February.
Energy exports were up seven per cent, led by increased natural gas sales to the United States attributable to "unusually low temperatures in the northeastern US in March," and more coal shipments to Japan, China and South Korea, the agency said.
The latter coincided with a slowdown in coal production in Australia caused by Cyclone Debbie which struck the Australian coast in February.
Consumer goods exports also rose 6.8 per cent, with increased shipments of yellow peas and red lentils to India, and gold to China.
Imports were up for a fourth consecutive month, increasing 1.7 per cent to 47.1 billion dollar in March.
Statistics Canada noted higher imports of unwrought gold from Japan, and the highest level of imports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts since September 2016.
Imports of motor vehicles and parts also reached a record high in March, in part due to strong Canadian demand for trucks that is expected to have continued in April.
Imports from the US - Canada's largest trading partner, by far - were up two per cent, while exports to the US edged down a fraction of a percentage point.
As a result Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed from 4.5 billion dollar in February to 4.0 billion dollar in March.
Imports from countries other than the US also increased, up 1.2 per cent, on higher purchases of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, and goods from Britain.
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