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(Adds details of release, background)
OTTAWA, June 6 (Reuters) - Rising exports and falling imports helped shrink Canada's trade deficit in goods in April to C$966 million ($721 million), the smallest in six months, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a shortfall of C$2.80 billion. Statscan revised March's deficit sharply down to C$2.34 billion from an initial C$3.21 billion.
Exports rose by 1.3% as shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products jumped by 15% on higher sales of gold to Britain and Hong Kong.
Exports of canola fell by C$47 million, or 14.7%, as shipments to China stopped amid a diplomatic dispute. Exports of wheat though jumped C$136 million, or 21.7%.
Total imports fell by 1.4% as deliveries of U.S. airliners plunged by 82.7% in April after a 50.7% drop in March.
Canada sent 74.5% of all its goods exports to the United States in April. Exports to the United States rose by 0.9% while imports grew by 1.9% and as a result, Canada's bilateral trade surplus fell to C$4.20 billion from C$4.49 billion in March.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)