Alberta’s exports continue to fire on almost all cylinders
Year-to-date sales up 49%
By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 12 January 2022 1 min read
After taking a staggering blow in May 2020, Alberta’s international merchandise exports recovered swiftly and have more than doubled in value. Total exports over the first 11 months of 2021 stood $40 billion (+49%) higher relative to the same period in 2020.
Despite strong performances by most sub-sectors, oil and gas extraction alone drove over three-quarters of total year-to-date growth in the province, thanks to higher crude oil prices and production volumes.
Chemicals manufacturing was the second largest contributor to Alberta’s year-to-date merchandise exports. After a lackluster start to the year, sales picked up sharply for the industry and rose $2.4 billion (+37%) by November.
Driven by stronger energy prices, the value of refined petroleum product exports increased $2.3 billion (+74%). Similarly, sales of wood product manufacturing (up 87%) were buoyed by elevated lumber prices, particularly during the summer months last year.
Meanwhile, 2021 painted a less rosy picture for Alberta’s agriculture sector. Although crop exports regained some ground after reaching a seventeen-month low in July, year-to-date sales were 5% below where things were at the same point in November 2020. Livestock exports also remained 13% lower year-to-date despite posting a solid gain in September.
In terms of destinations, sales to the US (our biggest trading partner) surged $39.4 billion (+56%) through November. Conversely, with weaker economic activity in the second half of the year, exports to China (our second largest export market) fell $140 million (-3%) during the same timeframe.
Nationally, domestic exports soared $93 billion (+21%) year-to-date, with Alberta accounting for 43% of the total increase.
Answer to the previous trivia question: In 2021, the goods-producing sector accounted for about 24% of all employment in Alberta compared to 36% in 1976.
Today’s trivia question: Which state is the destination of the largest amount (by dollar value) of Alberta’s exports to the US?