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Canada Posts Biggest Trade Surplus Since 2008 As Oil Prices Soar

In May, Canada booked its largest trade surplus since August 2008 as the rally in oil prices lifted the share of energy exports of all Canadian exports to a record high, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Canada's total merchandise exports increased by 4.1 percent in May compared with April, for a fifth consecutive monthly increase. At the same time, imports fell by 0.7 percent. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade surplus with the world widened from US$1.7 billion (C$2.2 billion) in April to US$4 billion (C$5.3 billion in May). This was the largest trade surplus for Canada since August 2008, the statistics office said.

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In May, Canada's exports of energy products jumped by 5.7 percent to US$15.7 billion (C$20.4 billion). Energy exports accounted for 29.8 percent of the value of total exports, an all-time high. Exports of crude oil and bitumen rose the most in May, by 9.2 percent, as a result of higher prices, Statistics Canada said. 

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"Uncertainty about supply, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is behind the recent rise in crude oil prices. Export prices for crude oil have almost doubled since May 2021," the statistics office said.

Crude oil prices surged to above $100 per barrel just after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. For most of the past months, oil prices have stayed above the triple-digit threshold as oil trade flows are changing with the Western embargoes on imports of Russian oil and buyers are scrambling for non-Russian supply. The underwhelming performance of the OPEC+ group in their production pact has also added to bullish sentiment, as well as the concern that just a few oil producers—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and not many others—have the spare capacity to pump more oil above current levels.

Oil prices have fallen to the low $100s in recent days with intensified sell-offs amid fears of recession and traders exiting positions during the summer holidays.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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