Canada trade surplus widens on record energy exports, but seen narrowing

Canada’s trade surplus with the world widened to C$5.05 billion ($3.94 billion) in June as exports of energy products reached a record high but analysts said it would narrow in months to come thanks to lower crude prices.

Statistics Canada said on Thursday that exports rose 2.0% in June, driven mainly by energy but also gold, while petroleum and motor gas pushed imports 1.7% higher.

Analysts had forecast a June surplus of C$4.80 billion. Statscan revised May’s surplus down to C$4.77 billion from an initial C$5.32 billion.

Energy exports rose 3.2% to reach an all-time high of C$21 billion and made up just under a third of all exports in June. That also helped exports climb for a sixth consecutive month, for the first time in nine years.

Analysts, though, said June most likely marked a high point.

“The decline in oil prices seen recently will of course weigh on nominal exports during July,” said Andrew Grantham.

Strong commodity prices after the Ukraine war as well as a boom in demand as economies eased pandemic-related restrictions have allowed Canada to weather an economic storm threatening to tip many of its fellow G7 rich nations into recession.

Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, said the outlook was more challenging given surveys of exporters pointed to weak growth ahead.

“Together with the declines in commodity prices since June, it seems likely that the trade surplus will narrow over the summer,” he said in a note.

Imports, also led by energy products, increased for the fifth straight month. Imports of refined petroleum products reached a record high on a “significant growth” in imports of motor gasoline from the United States and Britain.

The Canadian dollar was trading nearly unchanged at 1.2835 to the greenback, or 77.91 U.S. cents.

($1 = 1.2830 Canadian dollars)