UPDATE 2-Canada trade deficit jumps in April on record imports

Tue Jun 4, 2013 10:56am EDT
 
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* Canadian imports rise 1.2 percent, exports fall 0.2 percent

* Imports hit record high; surplus with U.S. grows

* Canada has posted 16 consecutive trade deficits with March revision

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, June 4 (Reuters) - Canada's trade deficit leapt in April as imports hit a record high and exports edged down, a further sign that exporters' woes are helping to crimp growth, Statistics Canada data indicated on Tuesday.

The April deficit hit C$567 million ($550 million), slightly more than the C$550 million shortfall analysts had expected. Statscan also revised March's initial C$24 million surplus to a deficit of $3 million.

The revision means Canada has posted 16 consecutive monthly trade deficits as exporters struggle to cope with a strong Canadian dollar and uncertainty in major markets such as the United States and the European Union.

The Bank of Canada repeatedly expresses concern about sluggish exports - a major driver of the economy - and cites that as reason for keeping interest rates at near-record lows.

April's slight drop in exports followed a 2.6 percent advance in March, which Statscan revised sharply downward from an initial 5.1 percent jump. March's relatively strong numbers helped underpin first-quarter growth.   Continued...