Canada posts $1.1 billion trade deficit in March

OTTAWA — Canada’s trade balance shifted back to a deficit in March following two consecutive months of surplus, as imports jumped significantly while exports edged up slightly, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

Canada’s trade deficit with the world was $1.1 billion in March. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a surplus of $700 million after a revised $1.42 surplus in February.

Imports rose 5.5% to their highest level since May 2019, with all 11 sectors posting increases, Statistics Canada said. Exports edged up 0.3%, mostly on motor vehicles and parts, and metal ores and non-metallic minerals, offset by falling energy exports.

Exports to the United States fell 3.8% in March, while imports rose 5.2%. Canada’s trade surplus with the U.S., it’s largest trading partner, narrowed in March to $4.3 billion.

The Canadian dollar steadied at about 1.2325 to the greenback, or US$81.14 cents, after the data.

Canada’s economy is expected to expand 6.5% in 2021, after shrinking 5.4% in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bank of Canada estimates.