The monthly trade surplus, the fourth straight, totaled C$799 million ($778 million), following a revised December surplus of C$75 million, Statistics Canada said.
The Bank of Canada says that while exports will recover in 2010 and 2011, they will be restrained by low U.S. demand and a strong Canadian dollar. International trade will cut economic growth by 1.2 percentage points this year, leaving it at 2.9 percent, according to the bank’s January projection.
The Canadian dollar has risen 25 percent against its U.S. counterpart over the past 12 months, making the country’s goods more expensive abroad.
Exports rose 0.5 percent to C$33 billion in January, with foreign sales of consumer goods such as toys, apparel and footwear gaining 9 percent in the month.
Imports fell 1.7 percent to C$32.2 billion, led by a 5.6 percent drop in energy products, Statistics Canada said. Imports of other consumer goods” fell 4 percent and machinery and equipment declined 2.4 percent.
Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the U.S., its largest trading partner, was little changed at C$4.14 billion in January from C$4.2 billion in December, Statistics Canada said.