A steel worker builds a structure in Ottawa on March 5, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Statistics Canada says trade deficit in April shrank to $966 million

OTTAWA — The economy showed signs of strength in April as Canada posted its smallest merchandise trade deficit since October last year, helped by a rise in exports.

Statistics Canada said Thursday the country’s trade deficit shrank to $966 million in April compared with a deficit of $2.8 billion that economists polled by Thomson Reuters Eikon had expected for the month.

The agency also revised its reading for March to show a trade deficit of $2.3 billion compared with an initial reading of $3.2 billion.

CIBC economist Royce Mendes said the good news on the Canadian economy just keeps rolling in.

“Not only did the trade deficit narrow sharply from the last time Statistics Canada reported the numbers, but a revision also made the prior month look somewhat better than the wide deficit originally reported.

“Combined with a solid handoff from March and an apparent surge in hiring, early indications suggest that April is shaping up to be a solid month for growth in Canada.”

Economic growth in Canada came in at an annual pace of just 0.4 per cent in the first quarter, making the weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015.

However, the Bank of Canada has said that it expects the weakness to be temporary and expects the economy to pick up pace throughout the rest of this year.

The next key piece of economic data on the strength of the Canadian economy will come on Friday when Statistics Canada releases its labour force survey for May.

The jobs report last month saw the economy add a record 106,500 jobs in April, the biggest one-month increase since the government started collecting comparable data in 1976.

The smaller-than-expected trade deficit in April came as exports rose 1.3 per cent in the month to $50.7 billion, as exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products climbed 15.0 per cent, boosted exports of gold.

Exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products increased 5.1 per cent for the month, helped by a 21.7 per cent increase in wheat. However, exports of canola fell 14.7 per cent as they saw no shipments to China in April.

China has rejected Canadian canola seeds in recent months and barred shipments from two of Canada’s biggest exporters in what is considered retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Meanwhile, imports fell 1.4 per cent in April to $51.7 billion as imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts fell 23.6 per cent.

In volume terms, exports were up 2.0 per cent, while imports fell 1.9 per cent.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fatal collision on Highway 11 west of Red Deer

Westbound lanes closed on Highway 11

Flooding displaces seniors from Red Deer building

Bridges Community Living assessing damage

Red Deer Justice Film Festival returns this week for 12th year

A collection of films focusing on different global issues will be screened… Continue reading

Women of Excellence nominations close next week

The deadline for the 2020 Women of Excellence Gala is only a… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

Practical tips for a healthier winter

Many people dread the dark days of winter. Having to spend time… Continue reading

CFL to stage Toronto-Saskatchewan regular-season contest in Halifax

The CFL is returning to Halifax. A CFL source says the league… Continue reading

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris closes in on White’s X Games medal record

Mark McMorris is on the verge of Winter X Games history. Winning… Continue reading

Aerosmith drummer loses bid to rejoin band for Grammy honours

BOSTON — A judge has told Aerosmith’s drummer Joey Kramer to dream… Continue reading

Canadian superstars Shawn Mendes and Drake among nominees at the Grammys

TORONTO — From Shawn Mendes to Drake, the line-up of Canadian nominees… Continue reading

Gardening: Purchase seeds that fit your values and budget

Spring is only a few months away and it is time to… Continue reading

Ottawa pledges to match funds raised for families of Iran plane crash victims

TORONTO — The federal government promised Wednesday to match all contributions to… Continue reading

Most Read