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Economic News

Canada: Gold Exports Saw the Trade Balance Shining in February

April 4, 2024
Marc-Antoine Dumont
Senior Economist


  • Canada’s international merchandise trade surplus increased from $0.6 billion in January to $1.4 billion in February.
  • Exports rose 5.8%, the largest gain since August 2023. Imports were also up 3.1%. In real terms, both exports and imports increased in January, with a 6.2% and 4.1% m/m gain, respectively.
  • Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed from $8.2B to $7.7B. Meanwhile, the trade surplus with the US edged up to $9.1B from $8.8B.


Today’s data is a gold story as exports of precious metals increased 68.8% in February. The rise in gold export volumes coincided with the steep rise in gold prices and, therefore, explains more than half of the total increase in exports. With gold prices reaching records, gold could continue to support exports in March and April, although the volume of gold shipments can be lumpy at times. Excluding the increase in this category, things didn’t look as shiny. The trade balance would have slipped into negative territory at $-0.6 billion were it not for a $2.0B increase in precious metals exports. While most of the other product categories also posted a gain in February, such as farm, fishing and intermediate food products (9.7%) and motor vehicles and parts (3.8%), imports also posted broad-based gains.

After sliding in January, imports of consumer goods rose 3.3% in February, which could be reflected in retail sales. Some volatility was, however, observed in energy imports (10.2%) as the timing of sea deliveries can cause strong increases. 


While today’s trade data came in a little stronger than expected, it didn’t nudge our GDP tracking much higher. We still expect a real GDP growth (annualized) of around 2.5% to 3.0% in Q1 2024. 

NOTE TO READERS: The letters k, M and B are used in texts, graphs and tables to refer to thousands, millions and billions respectively. IMPORTANT: This document is based on public information and may under no circumstances be used or construed as a commitment by Desjardins Group. While the information provided has been determined on the basis of data obtained from sources that are deemed to be reliable, Desjardins Group in no way warrants that the information is accurate or complete. The document is provided solely for information purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation for purchase or sale. Desjardins Group takes no responsibility for the consequences of any decision whatsoever made on the basis of the data contained herein and does not hereby undertake to provide any advice, notably in the area of investment services. Data on prices and margins is provided for information purposes and may be modified at any time based on such factors as market conditions. The past performances and projections expressed herein are no guarantee of future performance. Unless otherwise indicated, the opinions and forecasts contained herein are those of the document’s authors and do not represent the opinions of any other person or the official position of Desjardins Group.