Statistics Canada says the country posted a merchandise trade surplus in March of $972 million as imports fell more than exports.
The agency said Thursday the surplus compared with a revised deficit of $487 million in February. The initial reading for February released last month had indicated a surplus of $422 million.
The reading for March came as total imports for the month fell 2.9 per cent to $62.6 billion, the lowest level observed since March 2022.
Imports of consumer goods fell 11.0 per cent, mainly because imports of pharmaceutical products dropped 31.8 per cent. Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts lost 5.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, total exports fell 0.7 per cent to $63.6 billion, the lowest level since February 2022. Exports of energy products dropped 5.9 per cent in the month, mainly because of lower exports of crude oil as both prices and volumes were lower in March.
In volume terms, overall imports were down 5.3 per cent in March, while exports edged up 0.1 per cent.
Karyne Charbonneau, executive director, economics, at CIBC, said following a surge in trade volumes during January, the rest of the quarter was about not erasing all the previous gains.
“While import volumes now sit below those seen at the end of last year, export volumes, which rose slightly in March, showed impressive gains over the first quarter of the year,” Charbonneau wrote in a report.
“This suggests that the Canadian economy is continuing to benefit from an improvement in supply chains for some items as well as global demand for natural resources.”
In a separate report, Statistics Canada said the country’s international trade in services deficit was essentially unchanged in March at $2.0 billion.
It said exports of services rose 0.2 per cent to $14.0 billion, while imports of services edged up 0.1 per cent to $16.0 billion.
Combined, Canada’s trade balance for goods and services was a deficit of $1.0 billion in March, compared with a deficit of $2.5 billion in February.