With the strongest trade totals since the global financial crisis, Canada’s current account balance surged back to surplus in the first quarter of 2022, Statistics Canada reports.
The national statistical agency reported that the current account recorded a $5-billion surplus in the first quarter — its highest mark in 14 years — reversing a $137-million deficit in the previous quarter.
StatsCan said that trade in goods and services generated a $6.4-billion surplus in the first quarter, which was its highest level since 2008, led by a $8.6-billion surplus in goods trade.
Exports increased by $9.1 billion in the first quarter to $180.7 billion, driven by an increase in the value of energy exports as commodity prices surged. Imports also rose by $2.9 billion to $172.1 billion, but this was powered by stronger volumes rather than prices, StatsCan said.
Partially offsetting the healthy goods surplus was the trade deficit in services, which grew by $1.1 billion in the first quarter to $2.2 billion.
“The services balance has now been in a deficit position for four quarters in a row, after posting unusual surplus because of weak travel expenses in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic,” StatsCan said.
The report also noted that the investment income surplus grew by $0.5 billion in the first quarter to $1.2 billion, and that cross-border portfolio investment was robust too.
“Looking ahead, we expect the ongoing strength in commodities to support the current account in Q2, though offset by a deeper services deficit as travel recovers more fully,” said BMO Economics in a report.