Canada trade deficit shrinks slightly, still second-highest ever

March 27, 2019

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s trade deficit shrank slightly to C$4.25 billion ($3.17 billion) in January, the second highest on record, as low crude prices continued to eat into the value of exports, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a shortfall of C$3.50 billion. Statscan revised December’s deficit to C$4.82 billion from an initial C$4.59 billion.

Exports grew 2.9 percent to C$47.58 billion – the first increase since July 2018 – as the value of oil shipments jumped by 36.5 percent due to higher prices. Even so, crude export prices remained 40.1 percent below their July peak.

Imports gained 1.5 percent to hit a record C$51.82 billion, as imports of aircraft soared six-fold from December, reflecting the arrival of airliners from the United States.

Canada sent 71.5 percent of all its goods exports to the United States in January. Exports to the United States rose by 1.1 percent while imports edged up by 1.8 percent and as a result, the bilateral trade surplus shrank to C$1.56 billion from C$1.77 billion in December.

Publication of the January data was delayed from March 7 due to a partial U.S. government shutdown.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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