Alberta's strong export growth will moderate in 2008 as global demand softens



    CALGARY, Nov. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The value of Alberta's exports should grow
7 per cent in 2007, but that rate will moderate to 4 per cent in 2008
according to a provincial export outlook by Export Development Canada (EDC).
    "Oil and commodity prices have been a major driver in the growth Canada
has experienced in recent years, and that has kept Alberta well ahead of
national averages," said Stephen Poloz, Senior Vice-President of Corporate
Affairs and Chief Economist. "We expect the broadening global slowdown to
continue through much of 2008, and that will temper the hot demand we have
seen for the province's exports. That means far more moderate growth rates for
Alberta next year."
    Although merchandise export growth will slow in 2008, EDC expects the
overall pace will remain respectable due to steady increases in energy
shipments (responsible for 70 per cent of the province's total exports).
Respectable gains for forestry and machinery and equipment will also add to
next year's export performance. Agri-food however, will be the stellar
performer in growing exports, with a projected 15 per cent growth rate.
    With a WTI crude oil price forecast of USD 66/barrel in 2007 and USD
64/barrel in 2008, crude and related exports will have solid price support
through the forecast period. EDC predicts a 5 per cent increase in crude and
related product exports in 2008, but pipeline capacity constraints may limit
volume gains. Natural gas exports are expected to fall in 2007 and 2008 on
lower production, greater diversion toward domestic consumption, and high
exploration and development costs. EDC expects the market price of natural gas
to average USD 7.5/mmbtu in 2008.
    Oilseeds, pulse and wheat exports jumped significantly in 2007. EDC
expects wheat will experience another large price-induced increase in 2008,
with demand driven by biofuels, weather-related crop damage that has driven
global stocks to lows not see seen since the 1970's, and stronger demand in
emerging markets. This will work its way downstream into higher feed prices,
significantly boosting costs for Alberta's CAD 2.5 billion live animal and
meat processing export industries.
    Alberta's fertilizer industry should continue to show strength as high
grain prices continues to life global planting, but chemicals and plastics
face the effects of slowing U.S. housing and consumer demand.
    Machinery and equipment exports are expected to grow by 5 per cent in
2008 after an estimated gain of 16 per cent in 2007. Exports of mining, oil
and gas and agricultural equipment should prove solid throughout 2008, but a
softer outlook for telecommunications and other electronic equipment can be
expected due to a slower pace of economic activity in the United States and
other key markets.
    Nationally, Canadian economic growth is forecast to remain stable at
2.3 per cent in 2007, and 2.6 per cent in 2008. Key price gains in commodities
have put Canadian exports on track to increase by 3.7 per cent in 2007, but
the impact of weaker U.S. and global demand will have the export growth rate
more than halved to 1.5 per cent in 2008. Internationally, EDC is forecasting
a 4.9 per cent global GDP growth rate in 2007, and 4.5 per cent in 2008. EDC's
Global Export Forecast is available at http://www.edc.ca/gef.

    EDC is Canada's export credit agency, offering innovative commercial
solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international
business. EDC's knowledge and partnerships are used by 6,400 Canadian
companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide each year.
EDC is financially self-sustaining and is a recognized leader in financial
reporting, economic analysis and has been recognize as one of Canada's Top 100
Employers for seven consecutive years.




For further information:

For further information: Phil Taylor, EDC Public Affairs, (613)
598-2904, ptaylor@edc.ca


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