Canada posted a merchandise trade deficit of $1.0 billion in April, as exports of natural gas and crude oil climbed higher, Statistics Canada said Thursday.   

The agency said the result comes after a revised deficit of $2.0 billion for March compared with an initial reading that showed a deficit of $2.3 billion for the month.

Total exports in April increased 2.6 per cent to $64.4 billion in April, helped by a 2.7 per cent increase in exports of energy products.

Exports of natural gas rose 60.1 per cent in April as Statistics Canada said they returned to more typical levels following a low in March, related in part to milder-than-usual temperatures in the northeastern United States. 

Crude oil exports also gained 3.0 per cent as the volume of crude oil exported rebounded in April.

Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products rose 4.7 per cent as exports of unwrought gold, silver and platinum group metals and their alloys — a category largely composed of unwrought gold — rose 15.7 per cent in April.

Meanwhile, total imports rose 1.1 per cent to $65.5 billion in April as imports of motor vehicles and parts gained 4.2 per cent.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts also gained 23.7 per cent in April, boosted by the delivery of several ships in the month, including a ferry from China that will run between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

In volume terms, total exports gained 1.7 per cent in April, while import volumes fell 0.2 per cent.

"The increase in export volumes is consistent with other advanced indicators that showed a rebound in activity in April, and confirms that net trade drove growth during the month," CIBC senior economist Katherine Judge wrote in a report.

"Exports will likely see further gains in the quarter tied to higher oil pipeline capacity and one-off events in the auto sector, while imports are likely to fade given weak domestic demand and elevated inventory levels."

In a separate release, Statistics Canada said the country's monthly international trade in services deficit increased to $1.1 billion in April from $900 million in March as imports of services rose 1.1 per cent to $18.0 billion and exports of services were essentially unchanged at $16.9 billion.

When Canada's international trade in goods and services are combined, the country's total trade deficit with the world was $2.2 billion in April compared with a deficit of $2.9 billion in March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2024.