Canada's recent trade rally faded in February, resulting in a Can$972 million (US$723 million) deficit with the world, the government statistical agency announced Tuesday.
The result ran counter to expectations, as economists had forecast a surplus of Can$640 million, following three straight monthly surpluses.
According to Statistics Canada, exports fell 2.4 percent to Can$43.5 billion in February after hitting a record high at the beginning of the year, while imports edged up 0.6 percent to Can$46.3 billion.
The agency said exports of canola were down 34 percent following a three-month surge in sales to China. Canada also exported fewer aircraft overall, fewer boats to Saudi Arabia, and fewer gold coins to the United States.
Meanwhile, imports of passenger cars and trucks were just shy of a record high set in August 2016, and imports of low-valued transactions bounced back from "atypically low" levels in January, said Statistics Canada. There also were increased imports of food and tobacco.
Overall, Canada imported more goods from Japan, Norway and Brazil in February, while exports to China (mainly canola) and South Korea (mainly coal) fell.
Canada's trade surplus with the United States -- its neighbor and biggest trading partner -- widened slightly from Can$4.4 billion in January to Can$4.5 billion in February, as both imports and exports fell.