A GM worker uses human assistance automation to weld vehicle doors at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., on Friday, March 19, 2021. Statistics Canada says the country's merchandise trade surplus with the world fell to $2.5 billion in March as both imports and exports climbed to record highs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canada posts $2.5B trade surplus for March as imports and exports hit record highs

Canada posts $2.5B trade surplus for March as imports and exports hit record highs

OTTAWA — Canada posted a $2.5-billion merchandise trade surplus for March as both imports and exports climbed to record highs, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

The result compared with a revised surplus of $3.1 billion for February, which is higher than an initial reading that showed a surplus of $2.7 billion for the month.

CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham said the surplus was not as big as was expected, but the figures were still positive from the point of view of overall economic growth.

“The big gain in imports suggests that some inventories were being built in areas where future supply has become more uncertain, that spending on consumer goods has been very solid, and that supply chain issues may have been easing somewhat,” Grantham wrote in a report.

“Looking ahead, export volumes for manufactured goods could see some weakness as global growth decelerates, but demand for Canadian commodities globally should remain strong as developed countries look to substitute away from Russian product.”

Statistics Canada said imports rose 7.7 per cent in March to a record high of $61.1 billion.

The increase came as imports of energy products gained 26.3 per cent for the month helped by higher imports of crude oil and bitumen as both prices and volumes rose. Imports of consumer goods rose 6.5 per cent, while motor vehicles and parts added 9.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, total exports rose 6.3 per cent to a record $63.6 billion in March as higher prices helped exports of energy products gain 12.8 per cent to a record $17.9 billion. Exports of motor vehicles and parts rose 7.9 per cent.

Excluding energy products, exports gained 4.0 per cent in March.

Statistics Canada also said Wednesday that the country’s trade in services deficit increased to $1 billion in March compared with $578 million in February. The increase came as service exports rose 2.9 per cent to $11.9 billion in March, while service imports gained 6.5 per cent at $12.9 billion

When the trade in goods and services were combined, the agency said exports increased 5.8 per cent to $75.5 billion in March, while imports rose 7.5 per cent to $74.0 billion.

Canada’s combined trade surplus with the world for March was $1.4 billion compared with $2.5 billion in February.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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