Canada's trade deficit jumps to record $3.4B in March as exports plunge

Statistics Canada says the country's trade deficit grew to a record $3.4 billion in March as exports fell faster than imports.

Economists had expected a deficit of $1.4 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The result came as the deficit for February was revised higher to $2.5 billion compared with the initial reading of a shortfall of $1.9 billion.

Statistics Canada says exports in March fell 4.8 per cent to $41.0 billion.

"Export volumes are now back down to where they were in November," Scotiabank's economics team said in a note early Wednesday. That's a worrying sign because the cheap dollar during that period should have helped boost them. Instead they have lost ground.

Ten of 11 sectors declined, led by motor vehicles and parts, consumer goods, and metal and non-metallic mineral products.

Imports fell 2.4 per cent to $44.4 billion as eight of 11 sectors fell.

A drop in imports of consumer goods and aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts was partially offset by higher imports of energy products.

Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $1.5 billion in March, the lowest surplus since December 1993.

Exports to the U.S. fell 6.3 per cent to $30.4 billion in March, while imports slipped 4.8 per cent to $28.9 billion.

Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States increased to $4.9 billion in March compared with $4.6 billion in February.

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