Canada on Friday posted its first trade surplus in more than two years, driven by record exports to countries other than the United States.
The small trade surplus for November amounted to Can$526 million ($397 million), the first since September 2014, following a Can$1 billion deficit in October, Statistics Canada said.
The news came as a surprise after analysts had widely agreed on expectations of a Can$1.6 billion deficit.
Exports rose 4.3 percent to Can$45.6 billion on higher sales of metals and minerals. Imports rose 0.7 percent to Can$45.1 billion mainly thanks to increased purchases of energy, the agency said.
Canada exported $Can33.7 billion worth of goods to the United States, a rise of 2.5 percent that brought the country's trade surplus with its main trading partner to $Can4.2 billion.
However, exports to other countries jumped 9.5 percent to a record Can$12 billion, "the largest monthly percentage increase since May 2008," Statistics Canada said.
Sales to China rose by more than 11 percent to Can$2 billion in November, mainly driven by coal exports.
Imports from countries other than the United States rose 3.5 percent to $Can15.6 billion in November, led by the purchase of crude oil from Algeria, Norway and Saudi Arabia.
Besides metals and minerals, export earnings were driven by sales of farm and fishing products, and aircraft and other transportation equipment, Statistics Canada said.
At the same time, lower purchases of aircraft and transportation equipment helped offset the increase in energy imports.
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