Canada's trade deficit was 2.69 billion Canadian dollars (about 2.1 billion US dollars) in February, surging from 1.94 billion Canadian dollars in January as rail transport problems cut exports of wheat and canola, according to Statistics Canada Thursday. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States shrank to $2.58 billion from $2.93 billion in January.
"By our calculations, the tax legislation and two-year budget deal will add $205 billion to the federal budget deficit this year, which increases the nominal trade deficit by $75 billion", said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody´s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Exports rose to US$204.4 billion, led by industrial supplies and materials, vehicles and capital goods.
Still, the loonie has been boosted this week by optimism on a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trade has started on a weak note in 2018, with February's report affirming that net trade might be a drag on the economic growth in the first quarter of this year, noted TD Economics in a research report. "U.S. financial markets were little moved by data". USDCAD 1.2790 from 1.2802 post-Canadian trade data. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent annualized rate during that period. Aircraft and other transportation equipment and farm, fishing and intermediate food products also recorded decent rises, while metal ores and non-metallic minerals provided some offset. In February, exports of goods increased 2.3 percent to $137.2 billion, boosted by shipments of industrial materials and supplies as well as sales of motor vehicles and engines.
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