OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the country's merchandise trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed to $901 million in December from $1.7 billion the previous month.
But the decline was mostly on the imports side, which decreased 2.8 per cent to $38.5 billion.
The agency says exports continued to be soft, dropping a further 0.9 per cent to $37.6 billion. Exports were even weaker in volume terms, which has a more direct correlation to economic output, falling 2.1 per cent.
The agency says exports to the United States fell four per cent to $27.6 billion, mainly due to lower shipment of motor vehicle parts.
As a result, Canada's long-standing trade surplus with its largest and nearest trading partner closed to $4.4 billion from $5.5 billion in November.
However, there was an 8.5 per cent increase in exports to other countries in the world to $10.0 billion.
On an industry basis, the agency says exports of energy products and motor vehicles and parts were among the biggest contributions to the weak December trade performance, while shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals increased by a strong 26.3 per cent.