Trade surplus with U.S. highest in 3 years

OTTAWA — Canada’s trade deficit fell in April and its surplus with the United States ballooned to its largest in three years, boosted by shipments of cars, natural gas and softwood lumber, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The country’s trade surplus with the U.S. hit $5.0 billion for the month, up from $3.4 billion in March, at a time when the Canadian dollar slipped 0.3 cents US compared to the greenback, the federal agency said.

The data could provide ammunition for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has pointed to what he says is America’s trade imbalance with Canada as a rationale for sweeping changes to U.S. trade policies, including revamping NAFTA.

Canadian exports south of the border rose 5.4 per cent to a record high $36.1 billion in April. Imports from Canada’s largest trading partner were up 1.1 per cent to $31.1 billion.

CIBC economist Nick Exarhos pointed out that while overall shipments of forestry products were up a healthy 4.7 per cent, that was before the U.S. Commerce Department imposed duties on Canadian softwood products ranging from three to 24 per cent.

“That leaves the sector exposed,” Exarhos said in a note to clients.

Canada’s trade deficit with all countries narrowed to $370 million, down from a revised shortfall of $936 million for March. Economists had expected a razor-thin deficit of $70 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

“All told, a solid first indicator on April GDP, despite what was a miss on the headline,” Exarhos said.

Exports rose to a record high $47.7 billion, a gain of 1.8 per cent. Shipments of motor vehicles and parts were up 4.4 per cent to $8.1 billion, while exports of energy products increased to $8.8 billion, up 2.5 per cent.

Imports hit $48.1 billion, a fifth consecutive monthly increase and also a record high.

Brian DePratto, a senior economist with TD Economics, said while the overall figures provide for a positive read of the economy, trade data can be volatile.

“We remain of the view despite improving growth prospects, the Bank of Canada will maintain a cautious approach, waiting until April of 2018 to begin a monetary tightening cycle, although the balance of risks are beginning to shift towards an earlier start, rather than a later one,” he said in a research note.

Just Posted

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

Popular Red Deer store to apply for cannabis dealer licence

At least one Red Deer store hopes to sell cannabis out of… Continue reading

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

Latest Red Deer Hospital Lottery launched

Ticket purchases opened on Friday

WATCH: Day-long hockey game at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School in Red Deer

An all-day hockey game was held at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School Friday

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

WATCH: Cat yoga — the purr-fect de-stresser, says Red Deer-area cafe owner

Felines and humans stretch together each month at Alley Cat Cafe

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

Judge critical of sentencing laws

Court of Queen’s Bench justice argues sentencing options for first-degree murder too limited

Liberals write off $200 million in student loans feds will never collect

The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding… Continue reading

Trudeau takes wing on trade mission to India, where Sikh politics loom

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to India,… Continue reading

Judge: Parole for triple-murderers based on many factors

Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank could have faced life in prison with no parole for 75 years for the Castor-area murders

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month