Canada’s trade gap narrowed dramatically in June, to its smallest in 17 months, as the country’s exports surged to record levels even as protectionist trade clouds gathered.

Statistics Canada reported that the merchandise trade deficit shrank to $626-million, from a revised $2.7-billion in May. Exports jumped 4.1 per cent, their biggest one-month increase since November, 2016, to a record $50.7-billion, while imports dipped 0.2 per cent. On a volume basis, exports were up 2.1 per cent while imports were down 1.2 per cent.

Exports to the United States were up 2.5 per cent month over month, lifting Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with its neighbour to $4.1-billion from $3.3 billion. A weaker Canadian dollar in the month was a contributing factor.

But exports to non-U.S. markets fared even better, surging 8.7 per cent in the month. Canada’s non-U.S. trade deficit shrank to $4.7-billion from $6.1-billion.

Statscan said that exports increased in eight of 11 industry sectors.

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