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A truck moves past stacked shipping containers at the Port of Montreal, on May 17.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

Canada’s merchandise trade surplus more than doubled to $1.9-billion in August as exports of energy products climbed to their highest level since March, 2014, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

The result compared with a trade surplus of $736-million in July.

Statistics Canada said total exports rose 0.8 per cent in August to $54.4-billion as exports of energy products climbed 5.1 per cent to $12-billion.

Exports of crude oil rose 2.1 per cent on the strength of increased volumes, while coal exports gained 42.9 per cent because of higher prices and higher exported quantities to China and South Korea. Exports of natural gas climbed 13.6 per cent, mostly because of higher prices.

Meanwhile, total imports fell 1.4 per cent to $52.5-billion in August after hitting a record high in July.

Imports of motor vehicles and parts fell 11.1 per cent, while imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts dropped 28.8 per cent.

In volume terms, total exports rose 2.3 per cent in August, while imports fell 3.2 per cent.

TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman said the trade report was positive, but the trade outlook rested on shaky ground.

“Commodity exports should receive well-timed support from rising energy prices and demand. At the same time, manufacturing sentiment in Canada’s largest trading partner remains robust, as signalled by the strong ISM manufacturing survey release last week,” Mr. Abdelrahman wrote in a report.

“That said, global trade will likely be susceptible to downside risks stemming from supply chain disruptions that are taking place in several regions, which have been exacerbated by emerging energy/power shortages.”

The increase in the overall trade surplus came as Canada posted its largest monthly trade surplus with the United States in 13 years.

Statistics Canada said the country’s trade surplus with its largest trading partner rose to $8.6-billion in August compared with $6.8-billion in July as imports from the U.S. fell 6.2 per cent and exports moved down 0.7 per cent.

Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States increased to $6.7-billion in August compared with $6-billion in July.

In a separate release, Statistics Canada said the international trade in services deficit widened to $361-million in August compared with $119-million in July. Imports of services rose 3.7 per cent to $10.1-billion, while and exports gained 1.3 per cent to $9.7-billion.

Canada’s trade surplus with the world for goods and services combined rose to $1.6-billion in August compared with $617-million in July.

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