Canada's trade deficit widens to $2.7B in February

The Maersk ship Adrian Maersk is seen as it departs from New York Harbor in New York

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the country's trade deficit widened from $1.9 billion in the previous month, as the country imported $48.6 billion worth of goods while exporting $45.9 billion.

The value of exports climbed by 1.7% to USD204.4 billion in February, reflecting notable increases in exports of industrial supplies and materials, passenger cars, and consumer goods.

While President Donald Trump has vowed to shrink the trade deficit, it may keep growing thanks to rising household spending, strong business investment and tax cuts that are boosting demand for imports.

Even before the metal tariffs took effect with exceptions for a number of trading partners, the fees already were making business more hard for US manufacturers and other buyers.

The goods trade deficit was the highest since July 2008 and the surplus on services was the lowest since December 2012.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap widening to $56.8 billion in February. The Institute for Supply Management said earlier this week that the tariff announcement helped send a measure of raw-material prices paid to an nearly seven-year high in March, as businesses began stocking up. Part of the rise in the trade deficit in February reflected commodity price increases.

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The report showed that politically sensitive trade deficit with China narrowed to USD34.7 billion in February from USD35.5 billion in January.

China has initiated a complaint with the World Trade Organisation over the USA plans to impose a 25% tax on Chinese-made imports worth about $50bn for what the White House says are unfair intellectual property practices. Still, the overall economic growth is on track to expand 1.4 percent in the March quarter.

Imports rose by 1.9 percent on a 15.4 percent surge in shipments of energy products, pushed up by higher demand for crude oil and crude bitumen.

Acceleration in the USA economic activity and a loonie lingering below 80 United States cents might help in rebounding Canada's trade picture.

Trump worries about the trade deficit - should we?

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