Published: Fri, October 06, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Commerce: Trade deficit down slightly in August

Commerce: Trade deficit down slightly in August

Canada's trade deficit unexpectedly widened in August as exports fell for the third month in a row and imports remained flat, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

Following two consecutive steep monthly decreases, exports fell a further 1.0 percent in August to Can$43.6 billion, led by falling foreign demand for Canadian consumer goods, chemical, plastic and rubber products, and ores and minerals, according to Statistics Canada.

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The narrower than expected deficit was partly due to an increase in the value of exports, which rose by 0.4 percent to $195.3 billion in August from $194.5 billion in July. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States shrank to C$2.31 billion from C$3.18 billion in July. Imports slid to $237.7 billion from July's $238.1 billion. Minimizing that gap boosts US economic growth. Next week, the United States begins a fourth round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

At the same time, the merchandise-trade deficit with China, not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, was the widest since September 2015 at $34.9 billion.

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Overall, U.S. exporters are benefiting recently from an improving global economy and a weaker dollar, which makes American products less expensive overseas.

The drop in consumer goods exports was attributable to a decrease in foreign sales of pharmaceutical and medicinal products, mainly to Italy.

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