U.S. trade deficit improves slightly in March

Exports of energy products gained 7% in March

Energy exports were up seven per cent, led by increased natural gas sales to the United States attributable to "unusually low temperatures in the northeastern USA in March", and more coal shipments to Japan, China and South Korea, the agency said.

Advertisment Statistics Canada released figures Thursday morning showing that Canadian exports surged to a record $47 billion in March, but the country still posted a $135-million trade deficit for the month as imports also rose. February's trade deficit was revised up to $43.8 billion from $43.6 billion.

Exports of goods decreased $ 2.1 billion to $126.3 billion, although Imports of goods decreased $ 1.7 billion to $191.8 billion in March.

For the first three months of the year, the trade gap 7.5 per cent higher than the same period in 2016.

Going forward, the recent momentum in exports should continue, as the Canadian dollar remains under pressure - the loonie fell below 73 USA cents this week for the first time in over a year - and economic activity in the U.S.is set to pick up after a slow start to the year. -China trade deficit increased 7.0 percent to $24.6 billion in March.

The government reported last week that trade had a neutral impact on the 0.7 percent annualized rise in gross domestic product in the first quarter. Imports were also down, falling 0.7 per cent to US$234.7 billion.

The trade gap slipped 0.1 percent in March to $43.7 billion, seasonally adjusted.

Compared to the same month past year, exports are now nearly 13% higher.

President Donald Trump was elected on a pledge to reduce America's trade deficits, which he blames on unfair trade practices by China and other countries. Energy products rose seven per cent, pushed up by higher natural gas flows to the United States and a spike in exports of coal to Asia that coincided with a slowdown in Australian production caused by a cyclone.

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