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Canada posts trade deficit of C$1.09 billion in November

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada posted a trade deficit of C$1.09 billion ($0.84 billion) in November, official data showed on Tuesday, as a strike at the country’s biggest railway temporarily slowed shipments nationwide and energy exports declined.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a shortfall of C$1.15 billion for November. Statistics Canada revised the October deficit to C$1.61 billion from an initial C$1.08 billion.

Exports, Statistics Canada said, fell 1.4% in November to C$48.70 billion, with seven of the 11 product categories posting declines, while imports dropped by 2.4% to C$49.78 billion. In volume terms, exports declined by 2.7% from October, the agency said, while imports dropped by 1.3%.

Some 3,200 conductors and yard workers at Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR.TO) walked off the job for eight days in mid-November over demands for improved working conditions, triggering the country’s biggest rail strike in a decade.

Canada relies on CN and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) to move products like crops, oil, potash, coal and other manufactured goods to ports and the United States. Industry figures show about half of Canada’s exports move by rail.

Energy exports declined 7.4% on lower shipments of crude oil, the agency said, thanks to smaller export volumes because of pipeline disruptions following a rupture in late October.

The Bank of Canada has held its overnight interest rate steady for more than a year even as several of its counterparts, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have eased.

The central bank’s next fixed rate announcement date is Jan 22 and market expectations, as reflected in the overnight index swaps markets, show operators expect it to stay put.

($1=$1.2982 Canadian)

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