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Canada's trade deficit in goods widened in May

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Montreal (AFP)

Canada's trade deficit in goods widened in May, from Can$1.9 billion ($1.45 billion) to Can$2.8 billion, as imports rose while exports edged down, the national statistical institute announced Friday.

The May figure was significantly higher than economists' average prediction of Can$2.1 billion.

Pushed by a 17.7 percent rise in orders of aircraft and other transportation equipment -- the fifth consecutive monthly rise for that category -- Canadian imports rose 1.7 percent to Can$51.1 billion in May, Statistics Canada said.

The year-on-year increase was 3.5 percent.

Canada also imported 13.9 percent more refined petroleum energy products, for a total of Can$1.6 billion in May. Volume rose sharply, as several Canadian refineries were temporarily shut for the month, while prices fell slightly.

Exports were off slightly for the month, falling 0.1 percent to Can$48.3 billion, on a 3.6 percent decline in sales of motor vehicles and auto parts.

Amid trade tensions with the United States, a "disruption" in the supply of auto parts from the US in May led to a 4.9 percent decline in exports of passenger cars and light trucks.

"Over the first five months of 2018, exports of passenger cars and light trucks were down 14.6 percent compared with the same period in 2017," Statistics Canada said.

Canada in May imported 2.9 percent more goods from countries other than the US, its leading trade partner.

Total non-US imports were Can$18.5 billion, with the largest increases coming from China, Belgium and Germany.

Imports from the United States rose one percent in May, totaling Can$32.6 billion, but exports to the US edged down by 0.2 percent to Can$35.9 billion.

Canada's trade surplus with the US narrowed from Can$3.7 billion in April to Can$3.3 billion in May.

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