Canada's current account deficit widens as trade gap grows

FILE PHOTO: A truck is loaded with a container at the Port of Montreal, September 27, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s current account deficit widened to C$19.50 billion ($15.00 billion) in the first quarter, the third largest ever, thanks to a growing international trade gap in goods, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a shortfall of C$18.00 billion. The record deficit was the C$20.20 billion set in the third quarter of 2010.

The trade deficit in goods jumped to C$8.97 billion from C$7.49 billion as imports grew at a faster rate than exports.

Imports rose to C$148.23 billion from C$145.25 billion on higher shipments of motor vehicles and parts as well as energy products. Exports edged up to C$139.26 billion from C$137.75 billion on greater demand for energy products.

Direct investment in Canada for the quarter rose to C$17.79 billion, the highest level in two and a half years, with more than half of the money going to the manufacturing sector.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Paul Simao