Merchandise trade deficit shrank in December as crude oil exports rose


OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the country’s merchandise trade deficit shrank to $370 million in December compared with $1.2 billion in November, as crude oil exports rose.

Economists on average had expected a deficit of $610 million, according financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Exports rose 1.9 per cent in December to $49.3 billion but, excluding energy products, edged up 0.3 per cent..

Energy exports climbed 9.5 per cent in December, led by an 18.0 per cent increase in crude oil exports that rebounded after a drop in November due to a rupture in the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota.

Total imports climbed 0.2 per cent in December to $49.7 billion.

For the full year, the trade deficit totalled $18.3 billion in 2019, the smallest deficit since 2014, when the last annual surplus was recorded.