Canada Has Surprise September Trade Surplus on Export Rebound

Canada’s merchandise trade balance swung to an unexpected surplus in September as exports rebounded and refinery shutdowns curbed energy imports.

The surplus of C$710 million ($623 million) followed a revised deficit of C$463 million in August, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a C$300 million deficit, based on the median of 17 responses.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is counting on revived exports to trigger business investment and bring the world’s 11th largest economy back to full output over the next two years. The central bank has kept its key interest rate at 1 percent for more than four years after a slump in exports and business investment.

Exports rose 1.1 percent to C$44.8 billion after a 2.5 percent decline in August. Motor vehicle and parts shipments rose 6.0 percent in September to C$6.4 billion and consumer goods exports gained 6.6 percent to C$5.2 billion

Imports fell 1.5 percent to C$44.1 billion, Statistics Canada said. Energy dropped 19.4 percent to C$3.41 billion, including a 36.4 percent plunge for crude oil and bitumen as some Canadian refineries did maintenance work, Statistics Canada said today.

The volume of exports advanced 1.6 percent and import volumes fell 1.0 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. widened to C$3.92 billion in September from C$3.86 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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