OTTAWA: Canada’s trade deficit narrowed to Can$114 million (US$87 million) in July, as rising prices pushed up the value of its crude oil exports, the government statistical agency said Wednesday.
The deficit was the smallest in two years, beating expectations after a Can$743 million shortfall the previous month.
According to Statistics Canada, exports rose 0.8 percent in July to a record Can$51.3 billion.
Increased exports of energy products and passenger vehicles were partially offset by lower exports of aircraft, it said.
July marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase in crude oil exports, which have more than doubled over the past two years.
Crude oil exports volumes actually fell in July, but their total value was up because of prices rising 9.4 percent.
Imports, meanwhile, declined slightly to Can$51.4 billion in July, as imports of aircraft mainly from the United States and gold from Japan, Brazil and the Dominican Republic fell, partially offset by higher oil imports.
In trade with the US, Canada posted its largest surplus in a decade, widened from Can$4.1 billion in June to Can$5.3 billion in July, despite recent friction between the two neighbors.
Exports to the US in the month rose 3.3 percent to Can$38.4 billion while imports from the United States edged down 0.1 percent to Can$33.1 billion.
Canada and the United States were due to resume negotiations on Wednesday to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The talks have been dogged by US President Donald Trump’s threats to leave Canada on the sidelines and proceed with Mexico, which reached a deal with Washington last week.
Further straining the relationship, Trump imposed tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum in June, and Canada hit back the following month with the same on imports of US goods.
Canadian exports of steel subject to the 25 percent customs tariff rose 16.4 percent in July, while aluminum exports subject to a 10 percent tariff fell 2.0 percent.
Imports of steel from the United States fell 39.6 percent while aluminum imports fell 5.2 percent. —AFP