B.C.'s exports set to modestly regain lost ground in 2010, says EDC

VANCOUVER, Nov. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - British Columbia's international exports are forecast to grow by 5 per cent in 2010 on the heels of a 29 per cent decline in 2009, according to a provincial export outlook by Export Development Canada (EDC).

"With almost two thirds of provincial exports split between forestry and energy products, ongoing troubles in both sectors will continue to hamper growth prospects in 2010, even as global demand conditions begin to recover," said Peter Hall, Chief Economist, EDC.

"A healthy portion of B.C.'s 2010 export growth will be related to expected increases in prices, most notably natural gas, so the underlying challenges remain in place through 2010," Mr. Hall added.

The forestry industry is B.C.'s largest export sector, accounting for 30 per cent of the province's total. Overall, forestry sector exports are expected to experience a partial recovery of 9 per cent in 2010.

"Continued weak remodelling demand will negatively impact wood products exports, sending them down 32 per cent in 2009 before a 16 per cent rebound in 2010. Provincial wood product exports may find some reprieve in 2010 as U.S. housing starts begin to recover, but any gains will be made against an historically-depressed base," said Mr. Hall.

Chinese demand for pulp has helped cushion some of the fall in global pulp demand, but South America remains Asia's main supplier. Canadian pulp exports are expected to rise 8 per cent in 2010, while exports of paper products are expected to continue their decline.

The second largest sector is energy, accounting for 29 per cent of the province's total. EDC predicts that the province's energy exports will fall 1 per cent in 2010 after a 46 pre cent freefall in 2009.

"Next year, falling coal exports will be alleviated by improved natural gas sales, as U.S. industrial activity slowly revives. The longer-term potential of both the Montney and Horn River basins is favourable, and Asian demand may help fill the void left by a weak North American demand outlook," Mr. Hall said.

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) 598-2904, BlackBerry: ptaylor@edc.ca

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