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Canada posts surprise trade deficit as exports of refined products decline

06.04.2014  | 

Exports dropped 1.8% to C$42.8 billion in April, led by an 11% decline in energy exports to C$10.7 billion. Part of the drop was due to refineries closing for maintenance, Statistics Canada said.

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By ANDREW MAYEDA
Bloomberg

Canada’s merchandise trade balance swung to an unexpected deficit in April as energy exports declined amid refinery shutdowns.

The deficit of C$638 million ($584 million) followed a revised surplus of C$766 million in March, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday in Ottawa.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a C$200 million surplus, based on the median of 19 forecasts.

The Bank of Canada will probably keep the benchmark interest rate at 1%. Policy makers have said an increase in exports and business investment are needed to bring the economy to full output.

Exports dropped 1.8% to C$42.8 billion in April, led by an 11% decline in energy exports to C$10.7 billion. Part of the drop was due to refineries closing for maintenance, Statistics Canada said.

Imports rose 1.4% to a record C$43.5 billion, led by consumer goods, according to the agency.

The volume of exports declined 0.8% and import volumes rose 1.9%, Statistics Canada said. Volume figures adjust for price changes and can be a better indicator of how trade contributes to economic growth.

The surplus with the US narrowed to C$4.3 billion in April from C$4.4 billion a month earlier. The deficit with countries other than the US widened to C$4.9 billion, as shipments to the European Union dropped 23%. Exports make up about one-third of Canada’s economy, with about three quarters going to the US.



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