The monthly trade surplus of C$1.40 billion ($1.39 billion) was the largest since October 2008, Statistics Canada said.
The recovery in the country’s trade surplus comes after other reports this year have shown gains in housing and wholesale sales and a drop in unemployment. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has said that output and a key measure of inflation have been higher than he expected, and some economists predict he will start raising his policy interest rate in the third quarter from today’s record low 0.25 percent.
Exports rose 2.8 percent to C$34 billion in February, led by a 7.2 percent gain in industrial goods and automotive products. Imports rose 0.9 percent to C$32.6 billion, as gains in machinery and equipment and autos were blunted by a 14 percent drop in energy.
Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the U.S., its largest trading partner, widened to C$4.4 billion in February from C$4.16 billion in the prior month.
A stronger Canadian dollar and a low volume of U.S. orders will hamper the country’s shipments abroad this year, the Bank of Canada said in January. The Canadian dollar has risen 22 percent against its U.S. counterpart over the past 12 months, making the country’s goods more expensive abroad and imports more attractive in Canada.
Statistics Canada also lowered its estimate of the January trade surplus to C$754 million from an initial reading of C$799 million.