Canadian merchandise exports and imports both advanced in February following three months of rapid declines, according to data released Thursday by Statistics Canada.

Exports rose 5.2% to $33.1 billion as all sectors increased and auto makers resumed production. Meanwhile, imports increased 1.1% to $33.0 billion led by machinery and equipment. This resulted in a small trade surplus of $126 million, up from a deficit of $1.2 billion in January.

After leading the decline in January, exports of machinery and equipment and automotive products accounted for almost three-quarters of the gain in exports in February. The increase in total exports was due to a 7.0% increase in volume while prices declined 1.7%.

The February gain in imports was primarily supported by machinery and equipment and automotive products, while weaknesses in energy products dampened the growth. Overall, both price (+0.9%) and volume (+0.2%) increased.

Exports to the United States increased 5.0% on the strength of automotive products and precious metals. Imports rose 3.7%, largely reflecting increases in automotive products and aircraft. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade surplus with the United States increased to $3.4 billion in February from $3.0 billion in January.

Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed to $3.3 billion in February from $4.2 billion in January, as exports increased 5.9% while imports decreased 3.1%. Exports to China, Italy and Australia led the gain in exports to countries other than the United States.

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