OTTAWA: Falling prices for energy products were a major contributor to a 0.7% decline in Canada’s merchandise exports in March, while strong markets for precious metals resulted in a 2% increase in imports, according to a Statistics Canada report.
Exports were down $33.5 billion from $33.8 billion in February, ending a run of six consecutive months of increases. Export prices fell 2.9%—the first decline in prices in six months—while volumes grew 2.3 per cent.
Energy product prices fell 6.9%, but them, overall exports increased 1.3 per cent. Machinery and equipment prices also declined, but industrial goods and materials and forestry products exports grew.
Imports grew from $32.6 billion in February to $33.3 billion in March, the highest level since December 2008. This represented the fourth gain in five months. Import volumes increased 3.5%, while prices decreased 1.5 per cent. Precious metals, industrial goods and materials led the growth, followed by energy products, but there were lower imports of automotive products and other consumer goods.
Canada’s trade surplus with the world narrowed to $254 million in March from $1.2 billion in February.
Statistics Canada said exports declined 2.5% because of energy products, while imports decreased 0.6 per cent. As a result, Canada’s trade surplus with the US narrowed to $3.8 billion from $4.3 billion in February.
Exports elsewhere grew 4.2%, a third consecutive monthly gain, led by the European Union. Imports rose 6.5%, primarily as a result of a 19.4% increase in imports from the European Union. These factors widened the trade deficit with countries other than the US to $3.6 billion from $3.2 billion in February.
Export Development Canada expects Canada’s exports to rise by 11% in 2010 and by 7% in 2011, according to its Global Export Forecast. Exports are expected to improve dramatically in 2011, rising by 7 per cent.
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