Canada has returned to trade surpluses this year after the global recession triggered the first deficits since 1976 amid slumping automobile production and commodity prices. The surplus shrank to C$254 million in March, Statistics Canada said.
Imports rose 2 percent in March to C$33.3 billion, led by a 10 percent gain in industrial goods and materials, the biggest since 1992.
Exports declined 0.7 percent to C$33.5 billion, as a drop in crude oil and natural gas prices reduced energy shipments by 6.6 percent to C$8 billion. Excluding energy, exports gained 1.3 percent. The volume of exports, which removes the effect of price changes, increased 2.3 percent, the report said.
Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the U.S., its largest trading partner, narrowed to C$3.82 billion in March from C$4.31 billion in the prior month.
Statistics Canada also decreased its estimate of the February trade surplus to C$1.15 billion from an initial reading of C$1.4 billion.