OTTAWA -- Canada's merchandise imports and exports both declined in March, largely due to volume reductions.
Statistics Canada says imports fell more than twice as fast as exports, widening Canada's trade surplus with the world to $1.1 billion in March from $262 million in February.
Imports fell 4.4 percent to $31.4 billion as most sectors posted decreases.
The agency reports energy products registered the largest decline, followed by machinery and equipment, as well as industrial goods and materials.
Imports have fallen by more than $8 billion since peaking last July.
Exports were down 1.8 percent to $32.5 billion, largely reflecting a decline in exports to the United States as exports to the European Union increased.
Exports have fallen by $11.8 billion since peaking last July, primarily due to lower exports of energy products in the latter part of 2008.
Canada's trade surplus with the United States remained at $3.6 billion in March, virtually unchanged from February. Exports to the United States decreased 4.1 percent while imports declined 4.7.
Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States narrowed to $2.5 billion in March from $3.3 billion in February, as exports increased 4.5 percent while imports decreased 3.9.