By Robb M. Stewart

OTTAWA--Canada's current-account deficit widened in the first quarter of the year as crude oil led a drop in exports as prices fell.

The country's current account, the broadest indicator of Canada's trading and investing relationship with other nations, recorded a deficit of 5.37 billion Canadian dollars, the equivalent of about $3.91 billion, in the first three months of 2024, Statistics Canada said Thursday. The gap was in line with market expectations, according to economists at TD Securities.

The prior quarter's deficit was revised to C$4.51 billion, wider than the previous estimate of C$1.62 billion. The country has now logged deficits for seven consecutive quarters, including a C$3.72 billion shortfall in the first quarter of last year.

Canada's trade in goods swung to a deficit of C$1.10 billion for the recent quarter, from a C$2.15 billion surplus the quarter before, which offset a C$486 million narrowing of the services deficit to C$3.64 billion, the data agency said.

Exports of goods were down 1.3%, driven by a 4.7% decline in energy exports which was due largely to a fall in crude prices. Still, exports of metal products rose 9.7% to a record value in the quarter, buoyed by an increase in gold shipments.

Also in the first quarter, the country's investment-income surplus widened by C$1.1 billion to C$1.57 billion as interest on foreign loans and deposits increased.

Direct investment in Canada totaled C$12.62 billion, down from C$14.61 billion the quarter before.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-30-24 0909ET