In the first quarter, Canada recorded its first current account surplus since 2008, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The national statistical agency reported a $1.2-billion surplus in Q1, up from a $5.3-billion deficit in the previous quarter.
“The surplus in the first quarter mostly reflected the first positive trade in goods and services balance since 2008, which was partially offset by a lower investment income surplus,” StatsCan said.
The investment income surplus declined by $4.9 billion to $1.0 billion in the first quarter.
“The goods balance posted a slight surplus in the first quarter, while the services balance remained in an unusual surplus position in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic,” StatsCan noted.
“In comparison, the last surplus, observed in the third quarter of 2008, reflected a much stronger goods surplus, moderated by a services deficit to which travel services were the main contributor,” it said.
In a research note, BMO Economics said that it expects another, smaller goods surplus in the second quarter “as global economies reopened and commodity prices continued to move higher.”
Additionally, BMO noted that foreign direct investment (FDI) reached its highest level in two years, at $19.6 billion.
FDI represents “a key measure of the appeal of doing business in Canada,” BMO said.
StatsCan said that direct investment in Canada in the first quarter was mainly in energy and mining, along with the manufacturing sector.
“Look for modest surpluses to continue in the coming quarters, until borders reopen and Canadians resume spending their dollars abroad,” BMO said.