Statistics Canada says the country posted a merchandise trade deficit of $1.1 billion in March as imports climbed to their highest level since May 2019.
The trade deficit for the month followed two consecutive monthly trade surpluses including $1.4 billion in February and nearly $1.3 billion in January.
Statistics Canada says total imports rose 5.5 per cent in March to $51.8 billion as 11 of the sectors tracked climbed higher.
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Imports of energy products rose 54.7 per cent as imports of refined petroleum products totalled $726 million in March compared with $279 million in February, as a result of higher imports of motor gasoline. Crude oil imports rose 19.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, exports edged up 0.3 per cent in March to $50.6 billion as exports of motor vehicles and parts rose 10.2 per cent in the month.
In volume terms, total imports increased 7.0 per cent in March, while the volume of exports fell 0.3 per cent.