OTTAWA - Canada had a larger-than-expected trade deficit in November as a drop in crude oil and bitumen led a broad decline in exports.
Statistics Canada said Wednesday that the country posted a merchandise trade deficit of $644 million in November compared with a deficit of $300 million that had been expected by economists, according to Thomson Reuters.
The federal agency also revised its results for October to show a deficit of $327 million, compared with an initial reading of a $99-million surplus.
BMO Capital Markets senior economist Benjamin Reitzes called the November report "bleak, with negatives almost across the board."
"While trade performed solidly in 2014 as a whole, it's not ending the year in particularly good shape," Reitzes wrote in a note to clients.
"And, the trade deficit is likely to worsen materially due to the steep drop in energy prices, suggesting it will be some time before we see another surplus."
The price of oil has been sliding lower since last summer.
The U.S. benchmark price broke below US$50 a barrel this month and has been trading at levels not seen in nearly six years in recent days.
Canada's overall merchandise imports fell 2.7 per cent in November, while exports fell 3.5 per cent. Exports totalled $43.3 billion in November — the lowest level since last April — while imports amounted to $43.9 billion, which is the lowest level since July.
Statistics Canada said exports of energy products fell 7.8 per cent to $9.5 billion in November, marking the sixth consecutive monthly decrease.
Crude oil and crude bitumen fell 9.9 per cent to $6.9 billion, as prices fell 6.7 per cent and volumes dropped down 3.4 per cent.
However, energy was not the only sector to fall as nine of 11 sectors headed lower for the month.
Metal and non-metallic mineral products dropped 8.3 per cent to $5.0 billion.
Imports from the United States fell 2.1 per cent to $29.9 billion in November, while exports were down 2.6 per cent to $32.9 billion, narrowing Canada's trade surplus with that country to $2.9 billion in November from $3.2 billion in October.
Exports to other countries fell 6.2 per cent to $10.4 billion, while imports were down 4.2 per cent to $14.0 billion, widening that trade deficit to $3.6 billion in November from $3.5 billion in October.
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