In April, the Bank of Canada lowered its export growth forecast to 2.5 percent over the next three months from around 3.0 percent in January due to the additional drag on global investment from uncertainty over USA trade policy.
Canada's trade deficit narrowed sharply to just $135 million in March as exports surged to a new high on shipments of energy products and consumer goods, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Imports were up for a fourth consecutive month, increasing 1.7 percent to Can$47.1 billion in March. A boost in natural gas exports attributable to cold temperatures in the northeastern United States and increased coal exports to Asia were both factors.
Imports fell in March because of reduced spending on civilian aircraft, computers, oil and cars.
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The goods deficit decreased $0.3 billion to $65.5 billion, while the services surplus increased $0.4 billion to $21.8 billion.
Exports to the United States, which accounted for 73.1 percent of all Canadian exports in March, edged up by 0.1 percent while imports increased by 2.0 percent.
But a four-year record for Japanese imports, valued at US$13.3 billion, saw the USA deficit with that country hit its highest level since April 2008 at US$7.6 billion.
Exports decreased 0.9 percent to $191 billion, the biggest drop since October, led by energy, autos and pharmaceuticals.
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Imports increased 1.7 per cent to $47.1 billion, mainly due to unwrought gold.
President Donald Trump is poised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which links Canada, Mexico and the United States, and has threatened to pull out unless the U.S. gets a favorable deal.
The rise in exports was widespread, led by energy, consumer goods and metal and non-metallic mineral products which were all up by 7% during the month.
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