The gap between what Canada sells to the rest of the world and what it buys widened to $2.7 billion in February, as imports surged more than exports did.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that the country’s trade deficit widened from $1.9 billion in the previous month, as the country imported $48.6 billion worth of goods while exporting $45.9 billion.
Imports were up by 1.9 per cent, while exports rose by just 0.4 per cent. While exports increased overall, the figure was offset by the largest decline on record for farm, fishing and intermediate food products, which were down by 17.2 per cent to $2.4 billion during the month.
Exports of wheat and canola both plunged by 40 per cent during the month. TD Bank economist Dina Ignatovic blamed the drop-off in grain shipments on rail transportation issues in Western Canada.
Trade surplus with U.S.
While Canada has a trade deficit with the rest of the world, the country still has a substantial trade surplus with the U.S., far and away its largest trading partner.
Imports from the U.S. were up 3.3 per cent to $32.1 billion during the month, while exports to the U.S. increased 1.9 per cent to $34.6 billion.
That pushed Canada’s monthly trade surplus with the U.S. down to $2.6 billion in February, from $2.9 billion the previous month.
It’s important to note, however, that those figures only include trade in goods. When services are included, U.S. data shows Canada had a slight trade deficit overall with the U.S. as of the end of last year, although data for the month of February specifically has yet to be released.
With countries other than the U.S., Canada’s trade deficit widened from $4.9 billion in January to $5.3 billion in February, Statistics Canada data showed Thursday.