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.

Just Posted

Victoria: where the streets have four names

Find out why so many capital region streets change names as the roadways twist and turn

A look back at hand logging on Cortes Island

David Ellingsen explores his family’s logging roots with the help of his camera

Vancouver Island writer goes with the flow in River Tales

Crofton author documents life on the banks of the Cowichan River

EDITORIAL: If climate really is an emergency, then act like it

Communities busy declaring climate emergencies while not doing nearly enough to fix the problem

Vancouver Island man who pleaded guilty to beating over drug debt handed nine-year jail sentence

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read