OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the country posted a merchandise trade surplus of $496 million in January as imports fell to their lowest level since February 2022.

The surplus came after a revised trade deficit of $863 million in December compared with an initial report of a $312-million deficit for the final month of 2023.

Statistics Canada says total imports dropped 3.8 per cent in January to $61.8 billion.

The move came as imports of consumer goods fell 7.1 per cent due in large part to a 19.0 per cent plunge in imports of pharmaceutical products. Excluding pharmaceutical products, imports of consumer goods were down 3.8 per cent in January.

Meanwhile, total exports fell 1.7 per cent to $62.3 billion as exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products lost 6.2 per cent. Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts also dropped 13.9 per cent in January.

In volume terms, total imports fell 4.1 per cent in January, while exports dropped 1.8 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2024.