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David Parkinson logo.
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What the incredible shrinking trade deficit means for Canada

Canada’s May trade numbers aren’t enough to declare that a trade boom has begun. But they certainly take the sting out of April’s stunning slump, which now seems to have been more an anomaly than an alarm bell.

Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the country’s trade deficit shrank to $152-million in May, from April’s $961-million shortfall. Yes, it’s still a deficit – and a far cry from the surplus of nearly $1-billion posted as recently as March – but it was better than the $300-million shortfall that economists had expected. And after April’s scare (which, after a revision, now looks even worse than the originally reported $638-million deficit that stunned the market last month), it certainly comes as a relief to observers, especially those at the Bank of Canada, who are counting on a trade revival to light a sustainable fire under Canada’s lukewarm economic recovery.