Canada’s merchandise trade surplus widened to the largest in 14 years in June as the nation’s oil producers ramped up shipments.

Exports rose 2% to a record C$69.9 billion during the month, outpacing a 1.7% increase in imports, Statistics Canada reported on Thursday. The surplus rose to C$5 billion, the highest since 2008, up from a revised C$4.8 billion in May.

While the nation has benefited from rising prices for energy and other commodities, the export gain in June reflects increased volumes of energy shipments - a welcome sign for a sector that has struggled to ramp up production this year.

In total, export of energy products increased 3.2% to C$21 billion in June, and now represents 30% of total shipments.

In the first six months of 2022, the nation recorded a cumulative C$19.9 billion of surpluses. Canada had a trade surplus of C$420 million in the same period last year. The widening surplus this year largely reflects price increases, with export volumes struggling to keep pace due to production issues in the energy sector.

After adjusting for price gains, shipments of energy exports are still down by more than 12% since December, even with the bounce back in June.

Exports for all goods in constant dollars rose 2.3% in the second quarter, versus a 6.7% gain for imports. 

While total imports in constant dollars are well above pre-pandemic levels, Statistics Canada said, exports have yet to recover.

The nation’s trade deficit in services widened to $1.3 billion in June as Canadians increased travel abroad, the agency also reported.