Canada posted a surprise $718-million trade surplus in August, as transfers of gold to the United States and higher crude prices helped exports outpace a rise in imports, Statistics Canada data showed on Thursday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a $1.5-billion deficit. July’s shortfall was revised to $437-million.
Total exports increased 5.7 per cent, while imports were up 3.8 per cent, with both benefiting from higher prices in August, Statscan noted. By volume, exports rose 3 per cent and imports increased 1.2 per cent.
The surge in exports was the biggest since October 2021 and driven by precious metals and energy products.
Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products rose to a record $8.5-billion in the month, due in part to higher exports of gold to the United States, Statscan said, adding that gold asset transfers in the banking sector contributed the most to the monthly movement.
The value of energy product exports increased 14.6 per cent in August, with crude oil exports the largest contributor.
Total imports benefited from imports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts, active pharmaceutical ingredients from Switzerland as well as fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical products.
The monthly gains followed disruptions in port operations in British Columbia, which affected merchandise trade activity in July, Statscan said.