OTTAWA - Canada's trade deficit unexpectedly widened in August as exports fell for the third month in a row and imports remained flat, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.
The deficit expanded to $3.41 billion, the fifth largest on record, from a revised $2.98 billion shortfall in July and exceeded the $2.60 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Exports dropped by 1.0 per cent to $43.63 billion on lower shipments of consumer goods and chemical, plastic and rubber products as well as metal ore and non-metallic minerals. Imports remained virtually unchanged at $47.04 billion.
The last time exports fell three months in a row was between August and October 2015. 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.
Exports to the United States, which accounted for 74.8 per cent of Canadian goods exports in August, fell by 1.8 per cent, while imports rose by 0.9 per cent. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States shrank to $2.31 billion from $3.18 billion in July.