Trade deficit due to circumstances beyond government control: trade minister

Federal Trade Minister Ed Fast says Canada’s near-record trade deficit in May was due to circumstances in the global market beyond the government’s control.

TORONTO — Federal Trade Minister Ed Fast says Canada’s near-record trade deficit in May was due to circumstances in the global market beyond the government’s control.

Fast says the worldwide slide in oil prices, which have fallen by nearly half in the last year, have hurt Canada’s performance but they distort the country’s true economic picture.

He says once oil prices are factored out, the economy’s performance is sound, and he expects the country will soon return to positive economic growth.

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada said the trade deficit grew to $3.34 billion in May, up from $3.0 billion in April.

Statistics Canada also reported last week that the economy contracted in April — the fourth straight monthly decline.

That has sparked speculation about a possible recession.

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