indicatorThe Owl

Exports from Alberta contracted in 2020

Alberta experienced the largest absolute decline in export value at $25.8 billion followed by Ontario at $25.0 billion

By ATB Economics 23 February 2021 1 min read

Today’s Owl is part one of a series on Alberta’s exports in 2020.

Given the pandemic and the oil price crash, it’s no surprise that the value of Alberta’s international merchandise exports contracted last year.

Compared to 2019, exports were down by 22.0 per cent in 2020 or $25.8 billion. The contraction followed a 0.5 per cent ($0.6 billion) decrease in 2019.

The drop was not, however, as dramatic as it was during the previous two recessions.

In the wake of the global financial crisis, Alberta’s exports tumbled by 36.4 per cent in 2009 ($40.3 billion).

The oil price crash and subsequent provincial recession of 2015-16 had a similar impact to the financial crisis. Alberta’s exports were down by 34.6 per cent ($42.2 billion) in 2016 compared to 2014.

The contraction in 2020 began in March with the year-over-year value of exports that month down by 12.8 per cent ($1.4 billion).

Year-over-year sales were down in each of the next nine months with the biggest contraction taking place in May when exports were down by 55.1 per cent ($6.5 billion) compared to 12 months earlier.

Every province experienced an annual contraction in 2020 except Saskatchewan, which saw an increase of 2.5 per cent ($0.75 billion).

Alberta experienced the largest absolute decline in export value at $25.8 billion followed by Ontario at $25.0 billion. In percentage terms, Ontario’s exports decreased 9.9 per cent in 2020 while Alberta’s contracted by 22.0 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador took the biggest proportional hit with its exports contracting by 29.1 per cent.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in 1995 following a motion introduced by Dr. Jean Augustine the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament. The House of Commons carried the motion unanimously.

Today’s trivia question: What was Alberta’s largest export to China in 2020.

Compared to 2019, Alberta's exports were down by 22.0 per cent in 2020 or $25.8 billion

Compared to 2019, Alberta's exports were down by 22.0 per cent in 2020 or $25.8 billion


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