Skip to main content

Canada’s merchandise trade surplus increased to $1.4 billion in February as exports of gold hit an all-time high, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

The agency said the result compared with a revised surplus of $608 million in January.

Total exports in February rose 5.8 per cent to $66.6 billion, boosted by an increase in exports of unwrought gold.

Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products surged 31.1 per cent in the month to a record $9.4 billion powered by increased high-value shipments of refined gold as well as transfers of gold assets in the banking sector.

Statistics Canada said that excluding the product group for unwrought gold, exports were up 2.8 per cent for the month.

Meanwhile, total imports rose 4.6 per cent to $65.2 billion in February, helped by a 9.7 per cent increase in imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts to a record $7.6 billion.

In volume terms, total exports rose 6.2 per cent in February, while total imports rose 4.1 per cent.

“Canada’s merchandise trade activity improved in February, supporting the sturdy flash estimate for GDP growth in the month, and adds to signs that economic activity accelerated in the first quarter,” BMO economist Shelly Kaushik wrote in a report.

Statistics Canada said last week that its preliminary estimate for February pointed to real GDP growth of 0.4 per cent for the month, helped by strength in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, and finance and insurance sectors.

The result came after it said the economy grew 0.6 per cent in January, helped by the end of public sector strikes in Quebec in November and December.

The overall trade results came as Canadian exports to the United States rose 3.3 per cent in February and imports from Canada’s largest trading partner increased 3.4 per cent, resulting in a trade surplus with the U.S. of $9.1 billion in February compared with $8.8 billion in January.

Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States was $7.7 billion compared with a deficit of $8.2 billion in January.

In a separate release, Statistics Canada said the country’s international trade in services deficit narrowed to $1.0 billion in February compared with $1.2 billion in January as exports of services rose 1.9 per cent and imports of services increased 0.8 per cent.

When international trade in goods and services are combined, the agency said Canada’s total trade balance with the world came in at a surplus of $367 million in February compared with a deficit of $595 million in January.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe