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

Canadian Press

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

Just Posted

Conflict expert explains how to talk to people who aren’t social distancing

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

COVID-19: Managing your mental health from isolation

Ministry of Mental Health, Addictions recommends numerous strategies for self-care during pandemic

Saanich moves forward with summer camp registration despite COVID-19

District to give full refunds if camps are cancelled

Sunday morning fire damages Victoria gas station

The fire on Fairfield Road caused $75,000 in estimated damages to tires and automotive equipment

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read