Canada Current Account Deficit Widens in First Quarter to C$14.05 Billion

By Paul Vieira Features Dow Jones Newswires

Canada's current-account deficit widened in the first quarter as the trade in goods swung to a shortfall position from a surplus in the previous three-month period, and the deficit in services increased slightly.

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The country's current-account deficit expanded in the January-to-March period to a seasonally-adjusted 14.05 billion Canadian dollars ($10.45 billion), Statistics Canada said Tuesday. Market expectations were for a C$12 billion deficit, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

The previous quarter's deficit was revised higher, to C$11.78 billion from C$10.73 billion.

The current account is the broadest indicator of trade in goods and services, and covers items such as employee wages and investment income. A deficit suggests an economy is importing more capital and goods and services than it exports, and generally this tends to put downward pressure on a country's currency.

Among the Group of Seven countries, only the U.K. and the U.S. have bigger current-account deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product. Canada's GDP data for the first quarter comes out Wednesday.

In the first quarter, Canada posted a C$1.82 billion deficit in the trade in goods, versus a small surplus in the previous quarter. Canada ran a C$11.89 billion surplus in goods trade with the U.S. in the first quarter, but that was offset by a C$13.71 billion goods deficit with non-U.S. markets.

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Canada's deficit in the international trade of services edged upward to C$5.65 billion. Canada runs a trade deficit in services with the U.S.

In the financial account, there was a net inflow of funds into Canada of C$15.43 billion. The figures in the financial account are not seasonally adjusted. Foreigners boosted their holdings of Canadian securities to a record C$60.67 billion in the first quarter, led by purchases of equities, while Canadian direct investment abroad hit a record C$49.30 billion.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 30, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)