–Exports decline for the third straight month
–Dragged by lower prices for energy products
–Imports drop the most since July 2011
By Nirmala Menon
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
OTTAWA -(Dow Jones)- Canada’s trade surplus widened less than expected in March as a decline in shipments of crude
petroleum drove overall exports down for the third consecutive month, outpaced by the biggest drop in imports since July
As a result, the trade surplus increased modestly to C$351 million (US$350.68 million) from a downwardly revised C$273
million in February, Statistics Canada said Thursday. The latter figure was originally estimated at C$292 million.
The consensus call for March was for a C$500 million surplus, according to a repot from Royal Bank of Canada.
Net exports – exports minus imports – is only expected to make a small contribution to economic growth through 2014 as
demand for cars and housing in the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will likely remain low and Canadian exporters
grapple with challenges including a strong domestic currency, the Bank of Canada said last month.
Exports in March dropped 0.4% to C$39.49 billion as prices fell 1.3%. Shipments of energy products fell 8.9%, caused
entirely by a 15.7% decline in exports of crude petroleum.
On the plus side, exports of industrial goods and materials were up 6.2% thanks to increased shipments of precious
metals, organic chemicals and copper ores.
Exports of machinery and equipment rose 3.4%. Shipments of consumer goods such as medicinal and pharmaceutical
products grew 11.6%.
Meanwhile, imports fell 0.6% to C$39.14 billion as imports of petroleum and coal products pulled back from the
previous month’s record high and plunged 32.1%. As a result, overall imports of energy products fell 14.9%.
Imports of industrial goods and materials were down 4%. However, imports of auto products rose 4.7% as imports of
trucks and other motor vehicles increased 7% to a record C$1.8 billion. Imports of cars and chassis and vehicle parts
were also higher.
Imports of machinery and equipment rose 2.3%.
Canada’s trade surplus with the U.S. narrowed to C$4.6 billion from C$4.9 billion as exports fell 2.1%, the third
straight decline, and imports dropped 1.4%.
The trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. narrowed to C$4.3 billion from C$4.6 billion as exports grew 4.5%
and imports rose 0.8%.
-By Nirmala Menon, Dow Jones Newswires; firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-237-0668
(END) Dow Jones Newswires 05-10-120859ET Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones Company, Inc.