(Adds details of release, background)
OTTAWA, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canada's trade deficit remained at C$3.18 billion ($2.48 billion) in September as imports and exports dropped for the fourth consecutive month, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a shortfall of C$3.00 billion. Since Statscan started compiling trade data in 1946, exports and imports never both declined for four months in a row.
Exports fell by 0.3 percent to C$43.56 billion. Shipments of motor vehicles and parts shrank by 10.6 percent due to work stoppages and the introduction of changes to certain models destined for the U.S. market.
Excluding the auto sector, exports rose by 1.8 percent in September.
Imports slipped by 0.3 percent to C$46.74 billion on widespread declines. Electronic and electrical equipment and parts dropped 4.6 percent, mainly on lower imports of cellphones.
Exports to the United States fell by 1.2 percent, while imports rose by 0.4 percent. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States, which accounted for 74.1 percent of Canadian goods exports in September, shrank to C$2.16 billion from C$2.66 billion in August.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)