Bloomberg News

Canada Trade Deficit Streak Reaches Longest in at Least 25 Years

April 05, 2013

Canada recorded its 11th straight merchandise trade deficit in February, the longest streak in at least 25 years, with the shortfall unexpectedly widening as exports of metals declined.

The deficit of C$1.02 billion ($1.00 billion) followed a January figure that was revised to C$746 million from C$237 million, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the string would end with a C$100 million surplus, based on the median of 21 forecasts.

The Bank of Canada softened its language about raising interest rates on March 6, citing slower inflation and curbs on exports that include a strong currency and “fiscal drag” in the U.S. Exports won’t recover from a recession that ended in 2009 until the second half of next year, according to the central bank.

Exports fell 0.6 percent to C$38.5 billion in February, as shipments of metal and non-metallic minerals dropped 7 percent to C$4.69 billion.

Imports rose 0.1 percent to C$39.5 billion, Statistics Canada said.

The volume of exports declined 0.6 percent and import volumes fell 0.4 percent, Statistics Canada said. Volume figures adjust for price changes and can be a better indicator of how trade contributes to economic growth.

The surplus with the U.S. narrowed to C$3.40 billion in February from C$3.90 billion a month earlier. Exports make up about one-third of Canada’s economy, with about 75 percent of the shipments going to the U.S.

The 11 consecutive trade deficits is the longest streak in Statistics Canada records that date from 1988, surpassing a series of 10 deficits in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net.


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