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

‘I’ve fallen through the cracks’: Victoria woman calls herself new face of homelessness

Tonya Alton has had to move almost ten times since a ‘wrongful eviction’ in March

VicPD responding to robbery suspect barricaded in building on Cook Street

Residents are asked to avoid the 2300-block of Cook Street

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

New University of Victoria president to take over leadership role this fall

Kevin Hall selected to lead institution for five-year term

Edward Milne students clean up Whiffen Spit

Volunteers find styrofoam, cigarette butts and a single shoe

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Most Read