Photographer: Valerian Mazataud/Bloomberg

Canada Posts Third-Straight Trade Surplus as Car Exports Rebound

Canada posted a positive trade balance for a third consecutive month, with a rebound in car exports adding to a recent jump in oil shipments.

The nation recorded a surplus of C$807 million ($597 million) in January, Statistics Canada said Tuesday from Ottawa, after a revised C$447 million December surplus. Car shipments were up 7.7 percent on the month, fueling a 0.5 percent increase in total exports.

The recovery in crude prices at the end of last year is helping drive the country’s best trade performance since the beginning of the oil shock in 2014. While energy products slipped 1.2 percent in January, they are up 45 percent from a year ago.

Farm products were another driver of export growth, with Chinese demand producing a jump in canola exports in recent months. Canola shipments were up 38 percent in January and have more than doubled since October.

One area of concern for Canada’s economy has been non-energy exports, and the pick-up in car shipments helped produce a rebound in January for this group of goods. Non-energy exports were up 0.9 percent on the month, even though they remain down

4.4 percent from a year earlier.

The rise in motor vehicle exports in January also helped widen Canada’s trade surplus with the U.S., to C$4.5 billion in January from C$3.8 billion a month earlier.

The country’s trade performance has also been helped by declining imports. They were down 0.3 percent in January and have fallen 2.1 percent from a year ago.

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