Canadian Trade Surplus Advances


Canada's trade surplus widened more than expected in January after reaching a nine-year low the month before, as high commodity prices drove the fastest export gain in more than a year.

The surplus grew to C$3.26 billion ($3.28 billion) from a revised C$2.29 billion in December, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists said the surplus would grow to C$2.6 billion, the median of 23 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

Exports rose 3.6 percent, the fastest since December 2006, led by record shipments of petroleum and farm and fish products. Imports increased 1 percent, also led by high energy prices.

The country's currency strengthened 0.4 percent to 99.21 Canadian cents per U.S. dollar at 9:08 a.m. in Toronto, from 99.63 cents yesterday. It reached a record 90.58 Canadian cents per U.S. dollar on Nov. 7, making the country's goods less competitive abroad and making imports cheaper.

The trade surplus with the U.S. widened to C$6.21 billion from C$6.01 billion in January, recovering part of its December drop, Statistics Canada said.

Exports of commodities such as oil and gas, gold and food made up for declines in shipments of automobiles and machinery.

Energy exports rose 12 percent to C$9.21 billion on record crude oil shipments and rising natural gas sales, while higher gold prices led an 11 percent gain in exports of industrial goods. Agricultural and fish products rose 7.7 percent to a record C$3.05 billion.

Automobile exports fell 9.9 percent to C$4.99 billion, as sales of trucks plunged 29 percent to the lowest since June 1991. Machinery fell 1.3 percent to C$7.5 billion.

On the import side, energy and food also led the increase. Imports of energy rose 9.8 percent to a record C$3.92 billion, and farm and fish products rose 1.9 percent to a record C$2.2 billion.

The U.S. trade deficit was smaller than forecast in January as a weaker dollar propelled gains in exports, while oil imports jumped to a record, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The gap grew 0.6 percent to $58.2 billion from a revised $57.9 billion in December, the Commerce Department said.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
3/11/2008 6:39:14 AM