indicatorThe Owl

Current export value overshadowed by last year’s record high

Year-over-year exports down 31% in July on lower commodity prices

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 7 September 2023 1 min read

The dollar value of Alberta’s international merchandise exports was higher in July than in June.  However, exports continued to trend well below the record-setting levels seen last summer when energy and agriculture prices soared.

The value of the goods Alberta exported to foreign markets increased by 1.9% in July compared to the month before, but was down by 31% compared to 12 months earlier—the fifth year-over-year drop in a row.

While Alberta’s exports have come off their peaks, they were 11% higher than in July 2021.

Representing about three-quarters of the total value of Alberta’s international sales, energy exports almost single-handedly account for the year-over-year (y/y) pullback, falling 37%.

It’s a similar story for chemicals (-19% y/y) and forest products (-37%), which have both come off last year’s peaks. 

While agriculture exports were higher than last July (+9%), they too have come off their unusually high levels posted last fall, winter and early spring.

The port strikes in BC influenced the July trade numbers for Canada. Statistics Canada reports that exports leaving BC Marine terminals fell 23%, with declines in exports to Japan, South Korea, and India. However, with grain terminals remaining open, exports to China rose as a result of higher canola shipments. Alberta saw declines in its exports to several Asian countries between June and July but this was more than offset by higher exports to the U.S.

Answer to the previous trivia question: Tiff Macklem was appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada, effective June 3, 2020.

Today’s trivia question: What sci-fi TV show premiered on September 8, 1966?

The year-over-year value of Alberta's exports was 31% lower in July 2023

The year-over-year value of Alberta's exports was 31% lower in July 2023

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