Alberta's international exports set to top $100 B in 2013


EDMONTON (CNW) - Alberta's international exports are forecast to grow by 7 per cent this year and 6 per cent in 2013, surpassing CAD 100 billion next year, according to the Global Export Forecast released today by Export Development Canada (EDC).

"Peak prices for oil and key commodities have been boosting the value of Alberta's exports for a number of years, but additional gains will be somewhat constrained by softening prices. Increased volumes, however, will keep the province on the growth track," said Peter Hall, Chief Economist of EDC.

Alberta exports are dominated by the energy sector, which accounts for three quarters of total annual sales. Energy exports are forecast to rise 8 per cent in 2012 and 5 per cent in 2013, despite a weaker price environment.

"WTI crude is likely to average USD 100/bbl this year, and slide to USD 95/bbl next year. Unlike most economic recoveries, this one is expected to see oil prices ease back. Even so, prices will remain strong enough to keep the province's energy projects viable, ensuring strong crude production growth over the forecast period."

Industrial goods, agri-food and machinery/equipment round out Alberta's export sector.

Exports of industrial goods (chemicals, plastics, fertilizers, ores and metals), accounting for 11 per cent of the province's total exports, are expected to grow by 4 per cent this year and 5 per cent in 2013.

"Following a 15 per cent surge last year, Alberta's industrial goods sector will see steady performance through 2013," said Hall. "Fertilizers, chemicals and plastics will capitalize on rising global demand. Metals and ore sales will benefit from a rebound in the U.S. auto sector, but growth will be restrained by weaker global prices."

Agri-food exports, accounting for 8.5 per cent of the province's total, are forecast to grow by 10 per cent in 2012 and 5 per cent in 2013. "Agri-food shipments will build on the 18 per cent jump in 2011 with continued solid gains, thanks to higher sales of wheat, oilseeds and Alberta beef," Hall said.

"The recovering U.S. and Japanese markets, coupled with stronger sales to China, Mexico and the UAE, will drive steady double-digit growth of wheat and pulses. "

EDC's forecast calls for Alberta's machinery/equipment exports to grow by 7 and 10 per cent in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Global demand for oil and gas drilling equipment will remain strong through 2013.

Hall was in Calgary today to share his forecast with the province's exporters, the ninth of an 18-city cross-Canada tour. The tour is designed to offer market- and sector-specific insights to help Canadian exporting companies grow their international business.

EDC's semi-annual Global Export Forecast addresses the latest global export conditions including perspectives on interest rates, exchange rates as well as export strategies to help Canadian companies minimize risk. It also analyzes a range of risks for which exporters should be prepared. Read EDC's Global Export Forecast.

EDC is Canada's export credit agency, offering innovative commercial solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC's knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 7,700 Canadian companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining and a recognized leader in financial reporting and economic analysis.

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