Canada posts record trade deficit

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Canada posted a record trade deficit of Can$4.6 billion (US$3.4 billion) in December, more than doubling the previous month’s figure as oil exports plunged.

Closing out the year, annual trade deficit narrowed from Can$24.6 billion in 2017 to Can$21.7 billion in 2018.

The release was delayed by the US government shutdown in December-January, as Statistics Canada relies on its American counterpart for some of its trade data.

Exports in December declined 3.8 percent to Can$46.3 billion, almost entirely on lower exports of energy products, which were down as a result of falling crude oil prices.

This marked the fifth consecutive monthly decline in total exports since hitting a high last July.

Crude oil exports fell a whopping 28.7 percent to $3.3 billion, down by more than half its peak in July 2018. This came on the heels of a steep decline in November attributed to lower prices.

Lower exports of gold to the United Kingdom and Hong Kong also fell, but the overall decline was partially offset by increased exports of aircraft engines to the United States.

Imports, meanwhile, were up 1.6 percent in December to Can$50.9 billion.

Higher imports of diesel and biodiesel fuels contributed most to the increase, followed by passenger cars and light trucks, and bauxite and aluminum oxide (used in the production of aluminum) from Brazil.

Imports of airliners from the United States, however, fell.