Canada's merchandise trade surplus narrowed sharply in March as imports rose at triple the rate of exports, Statistics Canada reported May 12, due primarily to two-way trade in aircraft and parts.
Exports increased 1.1% to 38.3 billion Canadian dollars (US$34.7 billion) while imports were up 3.6% to 33.1 billion dollars ($30 billion), the government agency said.
As a result, Canada's trade surplus fell from 5.9 billion dollars ($5.3 billion) in February to 5.1 billion dollars ($4.6 billion) in March.
Strong demand for aircraft, engines and parts pushed up exports in March, the agency said, while increases in imports of crude petroleum, machinery and equipment, as well as consumer goods and automotive goods "returned imports to near-record levels." Exports of aircraft continued an upward trend started in early 2005 as increased military activities fuelled demand for Canadian planes and helicopters.
Meanwhile, exports to the U.S., Canada's biggest trading partner, remained flat in March, while Canadian companies imported 2.5% more from south of the border than they did in February. Thus Canada's trade surplus with the U.S. narrowed from 9.0 billion dollars ($8.2 billion) to 8.5 billion dollars ($7.7 billion).
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006