British Columbia's exports to drop significantly in 2009 amid forestry and energy woes, says EDC



    VANCOUVER, May 6 /CNW Telbec/ - British Columbia's exports are expected
to decline 23 per cent in 2009 before experiencing a modest increase of 3 per
in 2010, according to a provincial export outlook by Export Development Canada
(EDC).
    "B.C.'s export picture will be hampered by the ongoing forestry sector
challenges and weaker copper and energy prices," said Peter Hall, Chief
Economist of EDC.
    "The weaker Canadian dollar and the continued development of the natural
gas basins won't be much help to B.C.'s exports in 2009, but these factors
will be instrumental for the province's export growth prospects in 2010 and
beyond."
    The forestry sector, accounting for 30 per cent of the province's
exports, will see exports decline by 13 per cent in 2009 before a modest
rebound of 4 per cent in 2010.
    Lumber and wood products exports are expected to contract by 15 per cent
in 2009 amid dismal U.S. housing starts and weak remodelling needs. The sector
will again be marred by recurrent news of production curtailments and mill
shutdowns, either temporary or permanent.
    In the pulp and paper sub sectors, weaker exports are forecast for 2009,
with respective declines of 16 per cent and 2 per cent. In 2010, we expect
further drops of 2 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively.
    The previous growth in Asian pulp demand is now retreating as the global
economic downturn takes hold in those markets. Catalyst Papers, the largest
producer of specialty paper in Western North America, has announced the
indefinite curtailment of two mills. These curtailments will remove a
significant amount of pulp and paper capacity from the market.
    The energy sector, accounting for 29 per cent of the province's total
exports, is also forecast to see a decline of 36 per cent in 2009, amid
depressed global trade conditions before rebounding by a modest 1 per cent in
2010.
    Lower coal prices and shipping costs have seen China recently ramping up
its imports, but the general slowdown in economic activity does not bode well
for near-future trade prospects.
    The Montney Natural Gas project operations will provide some relief to
the province's energy sector in 2009, but production volumes are not expected
to reach full potential at current prices. The exploration for natural gas in
the Horn River basin remains in the early stages of development. Operations
there are expected to be in full swing in 2010.
    Canadian exports are forecast to decline by 22.2 per cent in 2009 before
rebounding by 7 per cent in 2010. Nationally, economic growth is expected to
decline by 2 per cent in 2009 with a slight increase of 1.7 per cent in 2010.
Internationally, EDC is forecasting a 1.3 per cent decline in 2009 and 2.3 per
cent increase in 2010 in global GDP. 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 more than 8,300
Canadian companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide
each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining, a recognized leader in
financial reporting and economic analysis, and has been recognized as one of
Canada's Top 100 Employers for eight consecutive years.




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Phil Taylor, Export Development
Canada, (613) 598-2904, Blackberry: ptaylor@edc.ca


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