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Trade surplus grew to $5.3 billion in May, largest since August 2008: StatCan

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Canada’s merchandise trade surplus grew to $5.3 billion in May, the largest trade surplus since August 2008, helped by higher energy prices and a dip in imports.

Statistics Canada said Thursday the result compared with a revised surplus of $2.2 billion in April.

CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham said the widening in the trade surplus could be as good as it gets, given that energy prices have fallen relative to where they stood in May and that imports will likely rebound with the reopening in China.

“However, some of the strength in non-energy exports, such as potash, copper and other metals/minerals could persist if Canadian companies are able to raise production and offset some of the holes left in the global supply chain by the sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine,” Grantham wrote in a report.

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Statistics Canada said exports rose 4.1 per cent in May to $68.4 billion as eight of the 11 sectors tracked by the agency saw growth.

Exports of energy products gained 5.7 per cent as exports of crude oil and bitumen rose 9.2 per cent, boosted by higher prices, while the aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts category gained 34.2 per cent.

Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals climbed 17.2 per cent led by exports of potash which soared 34.9 per cent, partly because of a large gain in exports to Brazil.

Meanwhile, imports fell 0.7 per cent in May to $63.1 billion.

Imports of consumer goods fell 4.7 per cent in the month, while aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts fell 22.7 per cent compared with April.

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Export volumes for May increased 1.7 per cent, while import volumes fell 1.4 per cent compared with April.

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Regionally, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States rose to a record high at $14 billion in May compared with $12.9 billion in April as exports to the country’s largest trading partner rose 2.4 per cent and imports gained 0.3 per cent.

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit with countries other than the United States was $8.6 billion, down from $10.7 billion in April.

In a separate report, Statistics Canada said the country’s trade in services deficit was $1.1 billion in May compared with $1.3 billion in April. Overall, exports of services rose 1.7 per cent to $12.4 billion, while imports of services gained 0.5 per cent at $13.5 billion.

Statistics Canada said when trade in goods and services are combined Canada’s trade surplus with the world was $4.2 billion in May compared with $900 million in April.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2022.

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