OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's trade deficit in September dropped by more than half to C$435 million ($414 million) from August as exports grew at a much faster rate than imports, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
The deficit, the 21st in a row, was less than the C$1 billion shortfall predicted by analysts. Statscan revised August's deficit down to C$1.09 billion from an initial C$1.31 billion.
Exports grew by 1.8 percent to C$40.65 billion, the second consecutive strong performance after August's revised increase of 2.4 percent. The Bank of Canada is worried by the sluggish export sector, which has been hit by a strong Canadian dollar, increased competition and uncertain foreign markets.
Exports advanced on the strength of energy products as well as aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts. Imports grew by 0.2 percent to hit a record high of C$41.08 billion.
Exports to the United States, which comprised 75.1 percent of all Canadian exports in September, grew by 1.0 percent while imports rose by 0.9 percent. As a result the trade surplus with the United States grew to C$4.30 billion from C$4.22 billion in August.
The statistics were released two weeks later than usual because the partial U.S. government shutdown last month prevented Statscan from obtaining some figures. Statscan said the delay had not affected the quality of the Canadian data.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by James Dalgleish