Trade Deficit Narrows

Amid the morass of market news (some of it still negative), some macroeconomic tidings out of Ottawa caused investors to grab onto hope Thursday morning.

Figures released by Statistics Canada showed Canada's merchandise exports rose 0.5% in February, because of higher exports of aircraft, while imports were down 0.8%, in part due to a decrease in crude oil imports. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed from $1.7 billion in January to $983 million in February.

The agency also said total exports were up 0.5% to $48.3 billion in February, with eight of 11 product sections increasing. Non-energy exports rose 2.3%. In real (or volume) terms, exports increased 2.7%.

Total imports fell 0.8% to $49.3 billion in February, their lowest level in the past two years. Decreases were observed in seven of 11 sections, with energy products posting the largest decline. In real (or volume) terms, imports fell 1.2%.