SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to play down disappointing June trade figures on Thursday, saying he had expected the data to worsen.
Trade deficit grew to C$1.56 billion, hit by sinking exports of energy and automotive products, Statistics Canada said earlier in the day.
"Some widening of the Canadian trade deficit is expected because of the high value of the Canadian dollar and because of the relatively strong performances of the Canadian economy," Harper told reporters during a visit to Costa Rica.
"It continues to be argued that the economy's going to grow. It will grow gradually and slowly along with the world recovery, and in that, as long as those remain the circumstances, the policy mix of the government of Canada is appropriate," he said.
Reporting by Alex Leff, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson