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OTTAWA: Canada’s trade deficit with the world widened to Can$2.1 billion (US$1.6bn) in November, as exports fell for a fourth consecutive month, according to government data released Tuesday.

“As was the case in October, energy products contributed the most to the decline” in exports, Statistics Canada said in a statement.

The deficit came in slightly higher than the Can$1.9bn economists had forecast, following a Can$851 million shortfall the previous month.

Total exports, according to the government statistical agency, fell 2.9 per cent to Can$48.3bn.

Crude oil exports led the decrease, down 17.7pc in large part due to lower prices. The drop was partially offset by higher exports of coal to South Korea, China and Vietnam.

A 26.4pc plunge in exports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products also contributed to the decline, mostly on lower exports of motor gasoline blending stock to the northeastern United States.

Exports of pulp and paper fell too.

Total imports, meanwhile, fell 0.5pc to Can$50.4bn, led by motor vehicles and parts.

November marked the ninth decrease in 12 months of passenger cars and light trucks imports, coinciding with lower Canadian demand.

Following a record high in September, imports of other metal ores and concentrates fell 19.6pc and were down for a second consecutive month, mainly on lower imports of gold for refining from the United States.

Aircraft imports, however, bounced back after recently hitting a five-year low when US aircraft production had temporarily slowed.

Canada’s trade surplus with its largest trading partner the United States, meanwhile, narrowed from Can$3.5bn in October to Can$2.2bn in November.

As for trade with the rest of the world, a sharp increase in exports to Britain (gold) was almost entirely offset by lower exports to Hong Kong (gold), the Netherlands (iron ore and heavy fuel oil) and China (gold).

And lower imports from Russia (crude oil), Switzerland (copper) and Mexico (passenger cars and light trucks) were partially offset by higher imports from China (computers) and Japan (gold and passenger cars).

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019