OTTAWA -- Canada's merchandise exports and imports both advanced in December on the strength of automotive products as Canada's trade deficit widened.
Statistics Canada reports exports rose 1.7 percent and imports increased 1.8.
As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world widened to $246 million in December from $201 million in November.
Exports grew to $32.2 billion in December from $31.7 billion in November, their fourth straight monthly gain.
The agency attributed the growth to a 2.1 percent increase in volumes, while prices fell 0.4.
Automotive products were responsible for nearly two-thirds of the growth, followed by machinery and equipment and energy products, while industrial goods and materials exports declined in December.
The export value for December 2009 remained eight percent below the value recorded in December 2008.
Imports increased to $32.4 billion in December from $31.9 billion in November, due to a 1.1 percent rise in volume combined with 0.7 percent price increase.
Automotive products led the gain for the second straight month, representing more than half the growth in December's imports. Industrial goods and materials and energy products also increased, while machinery and equipment decreased during the month.
Overall, imports remained 9.1 percent below those of December 2008.