PEI's exports drop in 2009 but rebound in 2010, says EDC



    OTTAWA, May 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Prince Edward Island's exports will drop by
5 per in 2009 before rebounding by 4 per cent in 2010, according to a
provincial export outlook by Export Development Canada (EDC).
    "Export growth, especially in the province's key markets, namely the
U.S., U.K., E.U. and Japan, will be non-existent this year, and we expect
weakness in 2010 as well," said Peter Hall, Chief Economist of EDC.
    "Fortunately, PEI's export structure, anchored by processed agrifood
staples and supported by niche manufacturing, equipment and transportation
sectors will help mitigate the largely negative outlook when compared with the
national average."
    The agrifood sector accounts for 61 per cent of the province's total
export picture, and EDC expects exports to slip by 4 per cent this year before
climbing a modest 2 per cent in 2010.
    Agrifood shipments are dominated by sales of table and processed potatoes
and seafood, with nearly 85 per cent of these destined for the U.S. Prospects
for McCain and Cavendish, the province's main exporters of processed foods,
are relatively positive through 2010 owing to positive price and volume
trends. This sub-category is largely recession-proof, as most of PEI's
processed potatoes are destined for fast-food restaurants or supermarkets. EDC
expects a similar outcome for cash crops (table potatoes) and dehydrated
potato granules.
    In contrast, the seafood subsector (mostly lobster and cultivated
mussels) will be stung by the U.S. recession in 2009. EDC expects fish and
seafood exports to slide by 19 per cent in 2009 before a 4 per cent rebound
takes hold in 2010 as key export markets slowly recover.
    PEI's principal destination market for this subsector is dominated by
demand from the U.S. Northeast. Lobster is not a staple food item, making
demand and price highly sensitive to the economic cycle.
    Efforts to brand PEI lobster with a 'sustainable catch' certification are
underway, which could open up PEI lobster to a larger market in the EU.
However, this potential positive impact may not unfold until 2010 or 2011.
Mussels, however, are less price-sensitive as a niche product.
    Three other categories of exports, which account for a combined 27 per
cent of the province's total foreign sales, are manufacturing and equipment
(M&E), transportation equipment and industrial goods. These dynamic sectors
are expected to provide an upside to PEI's overall negative export outlook.
    Aerospace has been the key driver of the province's transportation
sector, a result of its growing capacity to perform major engine overhauls and
aircraft modernizations. While Canadian sales of new aircraft will slump in
2009, companies like Atlantic Turbines International and Honeywell have a
proven track record in aftermarket service, and may do well given their
offering of a more cost-effective method of keeping aircraft in the air.
    Rail-car overhauls are also an important contributor to the
transportation sector's rampant growth, and could do well in 2009 as a result
of the impact of fiscal stimulus packages in the U.S. and E.U. on
infrastructure spending.
    Canadian exports are forecast to decline by 22.2 per cent in 2009 before
rebounding by 7.4 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: Phil Taylor, Export Development Canada, (613)
598-2904, Blackberry: ptaylor@edc.ca


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