Canada's trade deficit widens to $3.4 billion in August


The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in August, reflecting an increase in exports and a downtick in imports as Hurricane Harvey disrupted shipping along the Gulf Coast.

Improving global demand and a weaker dollar are helping boost USA exports, with the trade deficit narrowing to an 11-month low in August, Commerce Department data showed Thursday.

Overall, U.S. exporters are benefiting recently from an improving global economy and a weaker dollar, which makes American products less expensive overseas.

The drop in consumer goods exports was attributable to a decrease in foreign sales of pharmaceutical and medicinal products, mainly to Italy. The overall trade deficit was up 8.8% compared with the first eight months of 2016. Exports of services declined 0.4% to $66.1 billion. The Bank of Canada, long concerned by sluggish non-energy exports, has raised interest rates twice this year and says further hikes will depend on how the economy develops.

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Meanwhile, imports of motor vehicles and parts climbed 2.5 per cent to $9.3 billion, while metal ores and non-metallic minerals rose 9.9 per cent to $1.2 billion.

Imports of goods decreased $0.3 billion to $193.6 billion, the fourth consecutive monthly decrease.

TD Bank economist Dina Ignjatovic said, going forward, a healthy US economy should help to prop up demand for Canadian-made goods, supporting export volumes.

"The outcome of the NAFTA renegotiations also poses some risk, but with negotiations moving slowly, it is unlikely to impact trade this year". As a result, the trade surplus with the United States shrank to C$2.31 billion from C$3.18 billion in July.