PEI's exports to slow to 3 per cent growth in 2010, says EDC

HALIFAX, Oct. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Prince Edward Island's provincial export growth will slow to 3 per cent in 2010, according to a provincial export outlook by Export Development Canada (EDC).

"The economic slump in Prince Edward Island's key export destinations, nameley the U.S., the U.K., the E.U. and Japan, continues. Together with the persisitent strength in the Candian dollar, PEI's export competitiveness, good as it is, will slow off its steady growth pace," said Peter Hall, Chief Economist, EDC.

"Fortunately, the province's export structure is dominated by processed agri-food staples, and niche M&E and transportion sectors, which will will help shield it somewhat against the negative national average," he added.

Aerospace, bio-sciences, information technology and renewable energy remain key growth sectors for PEI. These more advanced knowledge-based industries have posted the most impressive growth performances over the past few years, while gains in the mature agrifood sector have remained fairly stable.

"Despite accounting for 61 per cent of total foreign sales, the Island's agrifood industry is generally capacity constrained. This is not the case for knowledge-based industries that source skilled labour from local learning-training institutions, which have recently announced expansion plans," said Mr. Hall.

Agrifood sector exports are expected to grow a modest 4 per cent gain in 2010. Prospects for McCain and Cavendish, the province's top exporters of processed foods, are driving the outlook thanks to positive price and volume trends. This segment has traditionally been recession-proof, as most of PEI's processed potatoes end up in fast-food restaurants or supermarkets.

"On the seafood side, efforts are underway to brand PEI lobster with sustainable catch certification, which could give exporters access to the large EU market. However, the payoff may not show up until 2010, or even 2011," Mr. Hall explained.

Mussels, on the other hand, are less price-sensitive than other agrifood subsectors given that they are more of a niche product. Overall, fish and seafood exports will slide 2 per cent in 2009, before a 3 per cent rebound takes hold in 2010, in line with the slow recovery in key export markets.

Canadian exports are forecast to contract 23 per cent in 2009 before rebounding 6 per cent in 2010. Nationally, economic growth is expected to fall by 2.3 per cent in 2009 with an upturn to 1.9 per cent in 2010. Internationally, EDC is forecasting a decline of 1.3 per cent in 2009 and 2.9 per cent growth in 2010. 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 named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for nine consecutive years.

SOURCE Export Development Canada

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Phil Taylor, Export Development Canada, Tel: (613) 291-1276, BlackBerry: ptaylor@edc.ca


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