Canada trade deficit expands as imports rise, exports edge down

"While Canada's trade deficit was larger than expected in May, the deterioration was mostly due to temporary factors", notes National Bank Financial's Jocelyn Paquet.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a shortfall of $2.05-billion. Exports increased $84.5 billion or 8.8 percent. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had anticipated the trade deficit would widen to $2.2 billion, from $1.9 billion in April. Imports rose 1.7 percent, driven by aircraft and other transportation equipment and energy products. Volume rose sharply, as several Canadian refineries were temporarily shut for the month, while prices fell slightly.

Amid trade tensions with the United States, a "disruption" in the supply of auto parts from the USA in May led to a 4.9 percent decline in exports of passenger cars and light trucks.

The federal agency said total exports edged down 0.1 per cent to $48.3 billion in May, mainly due to lower exports of motor vehicles and parts as well as metal ores and non-metallic minerals. "Indeed, the first five months of the year C$24.9 billion worth of passenger cars and light trucks were shipped from Canada to the world, 14.6% less than in the same period last year". Canada has only recorded two monthly trade surpluses since October 2014.

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StatsCan also said exports to countries other than the USA rose slightly, by 0.2 per cent, to $12.5 billion.

Imports rose 1.7 per cent in May, after falling a month earlier.

The United States took 74.2 percent of all Canadian goods exports in May.

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