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Alberta’s international exports up in 2017

Alberta’s international exports up in 2017

Posted on: 2/6/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


Foreign buyers continue to provide stability for Alberta's economy, offering markets for the $100 billion worth of oil, natural gas, beef, wheat, canola and other products the province has to sell. This is why threats of increased US protectionism (our main foreign customer) are a major concern.

Statistics Canada data for 2017 show international exports of merchandise from Alberta are up 26.5 per cent compared to 2016. Exports of energy products–the largest category–were up 34.9 per cent to almost $70 billion. Strong gains in other key sectors include machinery (+38.8 per cent), agricultural exports (+16.2 per cent), forestry (+11.8 per cent) and consumer goods (+7.0 per cent).

Compared to the record set in 2014 before the economic downturn, exports are still down 18.0 per cent. There is some concern that US tariffs on Canadian softwood will start to dig into forestry exports in 2018. Transportation bottlenecks could also hamper the growth of crude exports by keeping prices lower than they otherwise would be.

While concerns remain about the future of NAFTA, the newly minted Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that came into force in September both present opportunities for Alberta exporters to increase sales in these regions.

Alberta's International Merchandise Exports, graph

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