Twice every year – once in the spring and again in the fall – the economists at Export Development Canada (EDC) present a global forecast of what Canadian exporters can expect over the next 18-24 months. The Global Export Forecast (GEF) report is a detailed analysis of the major factors influencing economies around the world and how this is likely to affect key sectors of the Canadian economy and each of our 10 provinces. As such, it’s a valuable reference tool for anyone interested in, or affected by, international trade opportunities – in other word, all Canadians.
Not surprisingly, the Fall 2015 edition of the report, released on November 3, confirms that lower oil prices have pushed down Canadian exports in the energy sector which, given how important energy exports are for Canada, has tempered overall growth in our economy. But that’s only half the story. On a much more positive note, the report also shows that all other sectors are experiencing rising exports this year and, more importantly, it forecasts continued growth in all sectors – including energy – in 2016. And that, in turn, is expected to lead to growth in Canada’s gross domestic product next year of 2.3 per cent, almost double the 1.3-per-cent growth forecast for this year.
This might seem unrealistic, with almost daily stories about turbulence in equity and currency markets, continuing weak prices for many of the commodities Canada exports, and slowdowns in the economies of China and other emerging markets. But as the GEF Fall 2015 report explains, the current economic recovery that’s beginning to take hold is being accompanied by much greater volatility than the world has experienced in the past, in part due to the distortions caused by international efforts to cope with the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis. The key to surviving and thriving in this environment will be adept management of the volatility.
Leading the way in this recovery is the United States, which is by far the largest market for Canadian exporters, taking more than three-quarters of everything we sell abroad. Add to that the significant price advantage that many Canadian companies enjoy because of the lower Canadian dollar, and projections of a modest recovery in the price of oil next year, and it becomes much easier to see why EDC is forecasting an eight-per-cent increase in Canadian exports in 2016.
But that’s just a snapshot of what you’ll find in the Global Export Forecast Fall 2015 – there are also country risk overviews of some of the most important export markets for Canada, a review of 12 key sectors of the Canadian economy and specific export forecasts for every province. So if you’re already an exporter, or if you’re just starting to think about how to take advantage of these new global opportunities, it’s well worth a read. Check it out here www.edc.ca/gef