July 12, 2008 / 12:50 AM / in 9 years

May trade surplus widens on energy prices

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The trade surplus widened more than expected in May to C$5.54 billion ($5.43 billion) as high energy prices helped lift exports, especially outside the predominant U.S. market, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast a surplus of C$5.3 billion.

Exports climbed for the fifth straight months, up 5.4 percent to a record high due to gains in both value and volume. Higher crude oil prices and greater coal shipments to China boosted energy products exports by 8.1 percent. Industrial goods exports also shot up 9 percent.

Exports to the United States, the destination for three-quarters of Canada’s exports, grew by just 2.4 percent. Imports from the United States kept up a similar pace, leaving Canada’s trade surplus with the United States almost unchanged at C$8.1 billion. Exports to non-U.S. countries surged 15.1 percent in the month to an all-time high, narrowing the trade deficit with these countries.

Imports grew by a lesser 3.9 percent. Still, it was the biggest jump since last July thanks to heavy purchases of metals and metal ore as well as machinery and equipment.

Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Frank McGurty

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