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Canada trade surplus soars to highest point in 13 years

·1-min read
A container ship sits anchored in Vancouver Harbour near the Port of Vancouver on November 20, 2021 -- flooding in British Columbia halted railway access to the port, affecting exports (AFP/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

Canada posted its biggest trade surplus in more than 13 years in November as record exports offset the effects of flooding in the west of the country, the government said Thursday.

The surplus of Can$3.1 billion ($2.4 billion) was well above what economists had expected.

For the second month in a row, both exports and imports hit levels not seen since September 2008.

Exports of consumer goods increased nine percent in November to Can$7.3 billion, mainly thanks to pharmaceutical products, Statistics Canada said.

In November, large shipments of Covid-19 medication came into Canada for packaging and labelling, and most of it was later exported the same month. This caused a boost to both export and import statistics.

The rise in the trade surplus is "another sign that the flooding in British Columbia had only a small impact on overall economic activity," said Stephen Brown of Capital Economics.

"It confirms that the economy headed into the latest lockdowns in a stronger position than we initially expected."

Exports of farm and fishing products, as well as coal, posted the largest decreases.

In mid-November, flooding and landslides damaged infrastructure in British Columbia, disrupting transports of goods to and from major ports on Canada's Pacific coast.

Overall, exports to countries other than the United States, which depend heavily on Vancouver's ports, were down four percent in November.


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