* Q4 current account deficit C$17.3 bln on export strength
* Energy, food exports help shrink deficit on trade in goods
OTTAWA, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Canada’s current account deficit narrowed in the fourth quarter of 2012 as stronger exports of energy and food products helped shrink the deficit on trade in goods, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
The current account deficit totaled C$17.3 billion ($16.9 billion), slightly bigger than the C$17.0 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll, and smaller than the revised C$18.04 billion gap in the third quarter.
The deficits narrowed on trade in goods and in services but widened for investment income, Statscan said.
Exports of goods rose 1.5 percent in the period, led by energy products, canola and other crops while imports fell about 0.5 percent. As a result, the deficit on trade in goods narrowed to C$2.8 billion from C$5.1 billion in the third quarter.
The deficit on trade in services narrowed to C$6.1 billion from a high of C$6.2 billion previously, primarily because of increased spending on travel by Canadians visiting the United States.
The investment income deficit expanded to C$6.9 billion in the fourth quarter from C$5.1 billion in the third on increased earnings by foreigners on their direct investment in Canada.