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

Canada merchandise trade surplus grew to $1.9-billion in September compared with $1.5-billion in August as both imports and exports fell due in part to the shortage of semi-conductor chips that hurt auto production.

Statistics Canada said Thursday that production disruptions in the auto industry intensified in North America in September because of the ongoing shortage of semi-conductor chips that has forced auto producers to slow or halt production around the world.

Total exports fell 2.3 per cent in September to $53.0-billon as exports of motor vehicles and parts fell 17.9 per cent to $4.6-billion in September.

Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products fell 8.1 per cent as exports of unwrought gold and silver fell 12.1 per cent, while exports of energy products rose 6.1 per cent, helped higher by rising prices.

Meanwhile, total imports fell 3 per cent to $51.1-billion in September as imports of motor vehicles and parts dropped 13.6 per cent to $6.6-billion.

BMO economist Shelly Kaushik noted it was the seventh month this year to show a trade surplus, the best run since 2014.

“The trade surplus widened again in September, thanks in part to continued strength in energy exports,” Ms. Kaushik wrote in a brief report.

“After trade was a big drag on growth in Q2, it looks like we’ll get a notable rebound in Q3.”

Regionally, Canada’s trade surplus with the United States increased to $8.4-billion in September compared with $8.1-billion in August as imports from the country’s largest trading partner fell 3.7 per cent and exports lost 2.2 per cent.

Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. held steady at $6.6-billion in September.

In volume terms, total exports fell 3 per cent in September, while imports fell 4.9 per cent.

In a separate release, Statscan said the monthly international trade in services increased to $624-million in September compared with $285-million in August.

Imports of services rose 5.6 per cent to $11.8-billion, while exports of services gained 2.7 per cent to total $11.2-billion.

Statscan said the trade surplus for goods and services combined was essentially unchanged at $1.2-billion in September.

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