Merchandise trade surplus down sharply

The country’s merchandise exports and imports both fell in February because of lower volumes of automotive and energy products, Statistics Canada reported.

OTTAWA — The country’s merchandise exports and imports both fell in February because of lower volumes of automotive and energy products, Statistics Canada reported. Exports fell 4.9 per cent to $35.9 billion and imports decreased four per cent to $35.8 billion. The trade surplus fell to $33 million in February from $382 million in January. The drops followed four consecutive months of increases. Export volumes overall fell 5.2 per cent, with energy products down 8.2 per cent and automotive products down 12.4 per cent.

Import volumes fell 4.3 per cent overall, with energy and automotive products showing much greater drops of 12.7 per cent and 12.4 per cent respectively. Export prices rose 0.3 per cent in February, while import prices crept up by 0.2 per cent. Imports from the United States fell 6.1 per cent reflecting lower shipments of automotive products. Exports to the U.S. declined 3.5 per cent and the trade surplus with that country increased to $4.6 billion in February from $4.1 billion in January. Exports of crude petroleum decreased 6.9 per cent, due to higher inventories in the United States. This followed a 71.3 per cent rise between September 2010 and January 2011.