Merchandise trade deficit widened to $1.9 billion in May

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $1.9 billion in May as exports fell to their lowest level since July last year.

The result compared with a revised trade deficit of $1.3 billion for April, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. The initial reading for April had shown a deficit of $1.0 billion for the month.

BMO economist Shelly Kaushik said May saw Canada’s third straight monthly merchandise trade deficit, as lower energy prices and volatility in gold shipments dampened exports.

“Altogether, these results are in line with expectations for softer growth in the second quarter before further rate cuts support activity later in the year,” Kaushik wrote in a report.

For May, Statistics Canada said exports dropped 2.6 per cent to $62.4 billion as exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell seven per cent in the month.

Exports of energy products fell 2.4 per cent, due in large part to lower prices, while exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts fell 11.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, imports fell 1.6 per cent in May to $64.4 billion as imports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 10 per cent and motor vehicles and parts dropped 4.4 per cent.

Imports of energy products fell 11.6 per cent, while imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals rose 27.3 per cent.

In volume terms, total exports fell 1.7 per cent in May, while total imports dropped 1.3 per cent.

Regionally, Statistics Canada said the country’s trade surplus with the U.S. totalled $8.2 billion compared with $7.1 billion in April, while Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. was $10.1 billion in May compared with $8.4 billion in April.

In a separate report, Statistics Canada said the country’s international trade in services deficit came in at $1.0 billion in May compared with $1.1 billion in April.

Exports of services rose 0.5 per cent to $17.0 billion, while imports of services edged fell 0.2 per cent to $18.1 billion.

When international trade in goods and services are combined, Canada’s total trade deficit with the world amounted to $2.9 billion in May compared with $2.5 billion in April.