Canada's Trade Surplus Widens in March

Canada's merchandise exports edged down 0.4% and imports decreased 0.6%. As a result, Canada's trade surplus increased from $273 million in February to $351 million in March., Statistics Canada 5/10/2012 1:50:11 PM

Exports decreased for a third consecutive month to $39.5 billion, as prices fell 1.3%. Exports of energy products led the overall decline, partially offset by increases of industrial goods and materials as well as machinery and equipment.

Imports declined to $39.1 billion, as prices decreased 2.3%. The overall decline was a result of lower imports of energy products and industrial goods and materials. All remaining sectors registered increases.

Exports to the United States fell 2.1% to $28.7 billion, the third consecutive monthly decrease. Imports also declined, down 1.4% to $24.1 billion in March. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States decreased from $4.9 billion in February to $4.6 billion in March.

Exports to countries other than the United States rose 4.5% to $10.8 billion and imports increased 0.8% to $15.1 billion. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $4.6 billion in February to $4.3 billion in March.

Exports of energy products fell 8.9% to $9.9 billion in March, primarily the result of lower prices, down 8.0%. Exports of crude petroleum were solely responsible for the overall decrease, down 15.7% as a result of a decrease in prices and volumes. Higher exports of petroleum and coal products, mainly diesel fuel, partially offset the decline in the sector.

Exports of industrial goods and materials increased 6.2% to $9.9 billion as a result of higher volumes and prices. Exports of precious metals and alloys, organic chemicals as well as copper ores, concentrates and scrap led the sector's gain, on the strength of volumes.

Exports of machinery and equipment grew 3.4% to $6.9 billion in March as volumes rose 3.0%. The main contributor to the increase was higher exports of other end products, primarily gold coins.

Exports of other consumer goods, mainly medicinal and pharmaceutical products, increased 11.6% to $1.4 billion, the result of higher volumes, up 11.2%.