UPDATE 1-Canada December trade deficit balloons as imports hit record high

(Adds details of release, background)

OTTAWA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Canada's trade deficit unexpectedly ballooned to C$3.19 billion ($2.53 billion) in December as imports grew faster than exports for the second month in a row, data from Statistics Canada indicated on Tuesday.

The shortfall, the 11th in a row, was greater than the C$2.20 billion deficit predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll and was the seventh largest on record.

Imports rose by 1.5 percent to a record C$49.70 billion on increases in nine of 11 sections as volumes posted a 1.0 percent gain. Imports of energy products jumped by 16.9 percent.

Exports increased for the third month in a row, strengthening by 0.6 percent to C$46.51 billion. Exports of energy products, which were hit by pipeline disruptions in November, expanded by 6.2 percent to reach the highest in more than three years.

Exports to the United States fell by 0.8 percent, while imports dropped by 1.3 percent. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States, which accounted for 75.1 percent of Canadian goods exported in December, edged up to C$3.42 billion from C$3.28 billion in November. ($1=$1.26 Canadian)

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)