Canada Posts 1st Trade Surplus in Year on Energy Exports

Canada posted its first trade surplus in a year in March, breaking the longest string of deficits in at least 25 years as exporters shipped more energy and mineral products abroad.

The surplus of C$24 million ($24 million) followed a revised shortfall of C$1.25 billion in February, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a C$700 million deficit in March, based on the median of 22 forecasts.

Data this week showed Canada’s economy expanded for a second month in February, putting it on track for the fastest quarterly expansion since 2011. The Bank of Canada’s monetary policy report last month predicted economic growth of 2.8 percent next year and 1.5 percent in 2013, led by exports and business investment which slumped late last year.

The report is “supportive for the Canadian dollar and negative for fixed income,” Emanuella Enenajor, an economist at CIBC World Markets Inc., said in a note to clients.

Canada’s currency rose 0.1 percent to C$1.0073 per U.S. dollar at 9:11 a.m. in Toronto. One Canadian dollar buys 99.28 U.S. cents.

Exports rose 5.1 percent to C$40.5 billion in March, led by a 3.9 percent increase in shipments of energy and a 13.2 percent gain in sales of mineral products such as steel. Shipments of motor vehicles and parts jumped 6.1 percent to C$5.78 billion.

Imports increased 1.7 percent to C$40.4 billion, Statistics Canada said.

The volume of exports surged 5.1 percent and import volumes rose 0.3 percent, 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 U.S. increased to C$3.82 billion in March from C$3.18 billion a month earlier. Exports make up about one-third of Canada’s economy, with about 75 percent of the shipments going to the U.S.

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