OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s trade gap unexpectedly widened to a record deficit in June as imports of motor vehicles and parts jumped, while the increase in exports was lackluster, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The C$3.63 billion ($2.79 billion) deficit was greater than the C$2.82 billion that economists had expected. Exports were up just 0.6 percent in June, but that was largely due to a jump in prices, with volumes down 1.4 percent.
Overall exports were lifted by a 7.2 increase for energy products as prices for crude oil and bitumen rose. But excluding energy products, exports were down 0.4 percent.
In the second quarter, exports tumbled 4.7 percent, the largest decline since the second quarter of 2009. After a strong start to the year, economists expect this drop, along with the disruption to oil production caused by wildfires in northern Alberta, to weigh on economic growth data for the second quarter.
Imports rose 0.8 percent in June, led by record levels of motor vehicles and parts. Overall volumes were up 0.7 percent.
Canada’s trade surplus with the United States, its largest trading partner, narrowed to C$1.81 billion as imports from south of the border rose 1.5 percent.
Still, higher exports to other countries, including the United Kingdom and Spain, helped narrow Canada’s trade deficit with nations other than the United States to C$5.44 billion.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn