Oil and gas dominates Alberta’s exports, accounting for 67.8 per cent of all exports in 2018. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Chinese trade restrictions dampening Alberta’s exports

Alberta’s exports to the U.S. so far this year have shown improvement, but the same cannot be said for China.

According to a report by ATB Financial and Economic team, the province’s exports were down by 1.8 per cent in September compared to August, but total sales from January to September were up by 0.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Nationally, exports were up slightly on a monthly basis (0.1 per cent) and by 1.2 per cent over the first eight months of the year.

Alberta’s exports to the United States from January to September improved by 0.9 per cent ($735 million) compared to the same period in 2018, whereas sales to countries other than the U.S. contracted by 2.7 per cent ($286 million).

The Chinese government’s ban on several Canadian agricultural products was the main reason behind the sales falloff to non-U.S. destinations, the report states. Exports to China over the first eight months of the year were down 11.8 per cent ($431 million) with sales of agricultural products down by 32 per cent ($574 million). Exports to China were up in most other sub-sectors.

Exports to countries other than the U.S. and China improved by 2.1 per cent over the first eight months of the year.

Another report also by ATB Financial and Economic team states Alberta exported $118 billion worth of goods to other countries in 2018. This represents a 16 per cent increase compared to the previous year but is still down by three per cent relative to the peak reached in 2014.

The U.S. is Alberta’s main customer with with 87 per cent ($103 billion) of our exports landing in the United States. While dwarfed by our exports to the U.S., sales to other countries still came to almost $15 billion.

China is Alberta’s second largest customer at 4 per cent ($5.2 billion) of 2018’s total exports. Japan is third at two per cent ($2 billion), and Mexico is fourth at one per cent (1.2 billion). South Korea caps off the top five at 0.5 per cent ($555 million).

Oil and gas dominates Alberta’s exports, accounting for 67.8 per cent of all exports last year. Chemical manufacturing is the second largest category at 7.8 per cent of total exports followed by food products at 4.9 per cent and crop products at 4.3 per cent.


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