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

Algae bloom kills over 200k farmed fish near Tofino

“We’re trying to rebuild fish stocks in Clayoquot Sound and it is disheartening to hear of this news.”

BC Transit plan rolls through public process in Tofino and Ucluelet

“I’m thankful that the residents on the Coast are allowing this process to continue on.”

Ucluelet cancels Harbour Lights Sail Past

“Of course it’s disappointing. It’s one of my favourite community events.”

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Ucluelet Aquarium wraps up season with release day event

Residents help release charismatic critters on Dec. 7.

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

Chevron move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

B.C. cities top the list for most generous in Canada on GoFundMe

Chilliwack took the number-two spot while Kamloops was at the top of the list

Penticton RCMP warn of new ‘porting’ scam that puts internet banking, online accounts at risk

Two-factor verification has been the go-to way to keep online accounts secure

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

B.C. patients wait 41% longer than national average to see a walk-in doctor: Medimap

The longest wait time was found in Sidney, B.C., where patients waited an average of 180 minutes

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Most Read