Trade deficit widens to $940 million

Canada's trade gap expanded from $908 million to $940 million as the country imported more from the rest of the world while exporting the same amount of goods and services.

Gap between what Canada imports and exports expands to nearly $1 billion

Canada's trade deficit expanded to $940 million in November. (Canadian Press)

Canada's trade gap expanded from $908 million to $940 million as the country imported more from the rest of the world while exporting the same amount of goods and services.

The expanded trade deficit comes on top of a revision for the previous month. The data agency originally announced a $75 million surplus for October before revising that to a $908 million deficit due to lower than expected oil prices.

Statistics Canada reported Tuesday that imports edged up to $40.7 billion while exports remained unchanged at $39.8 billion.

The deficit was more than nine times as large as what economists were expecting. A consensus of economists polled by Bloomberg had been anticipating the figure to come in at a deficit of roughly $100 million for the month.

Trade served as a drag on the economy in November- Scotiabank

"The Bank of Canada’s hoped for rotation of growth toward an export-led recovery remains elusive with another downside disappointment," Scotiabank economists Derek Holt and Dov Ziegler said in a note to clients after the release of the data. "The net implication is that trade served as a drag on the economy in November."

Canada imported significantly fewer energy products during the month, as they were down 16.3 per cent to $2.9 billion for the month. Imports of crude oil and crude bitumen in particular decreased for a third consecutive month, down 24.9 per cent to $1.5 billion in November on lower volumes and prices.

On the other side of the ledger, Canada also shipped out less energy products — down 1.6 per cent to $9.3 billion. Crude oil and crude bitumen specifically fell by two per cent to $6.7 billion, a third consecutive decrease after reaching a record high in August 2013.

Canada has now posted a trade deficit for 23 consecutive months. That's the longest uninterrupted streak of deficits in almost a generation.

Historically, Canada posted trade surpluses more often than it did deficits on a month to month basis. But since the recession that began in 2009, the economy has been posting far more negative figures than surplus months.