Alberta enjoyed a banner year for exports in 2018 with 11 per cent growth driven in part by the ramping up of oil production for the Fort Hills oil sands project, says a new report released by Export Development Canada (EDC) on Thursday.
The Global Export Forecast said 2019 will build on this growth with another three per cent increase, thanks to new export capacity growth in the energy sector and the anticipated opening of the Cavendish Farms frozen potato processing plant in Lethbridge.
Nationally, exports of goods are expected to grow another four per cent in 2019, following a six per cent boost this year, said the report.
“There have certainly been some ups and downs among the provinces this year,” said Peter Hall, chief economist at EDC, in a statement. “It isn’t surprising, given the major economic and trade-related stories that Canadian exporters lived through during 2018. We expect conditions to stabilize in 2019, with growth forecast across every province and territory.”
The report said commodities and manufactured goods continue to make strong contributions to the bottom line. The aerospace sector is still expected to see the biggest gains, rising 10 per cent in 2019 on the heels of a 19 per cent gain this year that saw foreign sales reach $19 billion.
“In contrast, automotive exports will dip in 2018 before a modest bounce-back next year. While foreign sales of auto parts and heavier transportation equipment will be steady, exports of passenger cars and light vehicles are expected to fall slightly due to sales reaching peak levels in the U.S. and related temporary plant closures,” said EDC.
“Agri-food exports will slide by one per cent this year. This includes seafood, which, in spite of double-digit sales to China, is generally supply-constrained. Growth should rise to four per cent in 2019.
“The forecast for ores and metals has been downgraded slightly, but still sits at a strong seven per cent increase for 2018 with a further three per cent boost in 2019.”
EDC is a Crown corporation that helps Canadian companies of all sizes go, grow and succeed beyond Canada’s borders.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.