U.S. trade deficit widens in February

06 April, 2018, 06:59 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • The Maersk ship Adrian Maersk is seen as it departs from New York Harbor in New York

That pushed Canada's monthly trade surplus with the US down to $2.6 billion in February, from $2.9 billion the previous month.

The gap increased 1.6 per cent in February to US$57.6 billion, compared with the median estimate of economists for US$56.8 billion, Commerce Department data showed on Thursday.

Analysts had forecast a 2.2 billion dollar deficit after a 1.9 billion dollar deficit in January.

However, exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products plummeted 17.2 percent, the largest record.

Exports of wheat (-41.6 percent) and canola (-40.1 percent) were responsible for the drop in the section. The Institute for Supply Management said earlier this week that the tariff announcement helped send a measure of raw-material prices paid to an nearly seven-year high in March, as businesses began stocking up. Exports rose to $204.4 billion, led by industrial supplies and materials, automobiles and capital goods.

The rise in imports was broad based, driven by a 15 percent rise in energy products to the highest level since late-2014. Imports of motor vehicles and parts climbed by 1.7 percent as the auto plant shutdowns ended.


The Canadian dollar was steady against its USA counterpart on Thursday, holding near an earlier five-week high even as the greenback broadly climbed and data showed a widening of Canada's trade deficit.

Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said the stronger imports showed some strength in the domestic economy.

The central bank, which has raised rates three times since last July, repeatedly cites uncertainty over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement as a risk factor for the economy.

Overall imports in February, according to Statistics Canada, increased 1.9 percent to 48.6 billion dollar while exports edged up 0.4 percent to 45.9 billion dollar.

Canada imported more crude oil and bitumen in February, with a larger share coming from the United States. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States fell to 2.58 billion Canadian dollars in February from 2.93 billion Canadian dollars in January.

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