Merchandise trade inches forward in Feb.

OTTAWA — Canada’s merchandise exports grew 2.8 percent in February, on the strength of industrial goods and materials, outpacing a 0.9 percent increase in imports.

As a result, reports Stats Canada, the nation’s trade surplus with the world widened to $1.4 billion in February from $754 million in January.

Exports increased to $34 billion, as prices and volumes each grew 1.4 percent — the fifth increase in both volumes and prices in six months.

Meanwhile, import volumes have been trending upward since April 2009. Notable increases in machinery and equipment, and automotive products were nearly offset by pronounced declines in imports of energy products.

Excluding the energy products sector, imports would have increased 2.6 percent in February.

On the strength of automotive products, exports to the U.S. specifically increased 2 percent and imports grew 1.2 percent.

Exports to other countries rose 5.2 percent, as exports to all principal trading areas except Japan increased in February.

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