Canada trade deficit halved in December

Canada's trade deficit was halved to Can$901 million (US$898 million) in December, as a big drop in imports outweighed the impact of fewer exports, a government agency said Friday.

The ninth consecutive monthly deficit was down from a revised Can$1.7 billion (US$1.7 billion) in the previous month, according to Statistics Canada.

The agency noted a decline in imports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products, as well as lead and zinc ores and concentrates, while crude oil and bitumen imports rose.

Logging, mining and construction machinery imports fell 18.9 percent in December, continuing a steady decline from a record high in June.

Shipments of vehicle engines and motor vehicle parts also fell as plant shutdowns over the Christmas holiday season plant were longer than in previous years.

Overall imports fell to Can$38.5 billion (US$38.4 billion) in December.

Exports of crude oil and bitumen, natural gas, and coal fell for the first time in months. Passenger car and light truck exports fell too.

Exports of copper ores and concentrates, as well as potash, and unwrought precious metals and precious metal allows, meanwhile, were up.

Total exports declined to Can$37.6 billion (US$37.5 billion) on lower volumes, despite higher prices.

Canada's trade surplus with the United States, its largest trading partner, narrowed from Can$3.8 billion (US$3.8 billion) to Can$3.5 billion (US$3.5 billion). Both imports and exports decreased.