Export Development Canada’s (EDC) forecast for Alberta’s export growth calls for a substantial gain of 12 per cent in 2013 after recording a 7 per cent gain this year.

“Alberta exports will be firing on all cylinders in 2013,” said Peter Hall, Chief Economist, EDC. “Crude oil, most agricultural commodities and a number of industrial goods will post gains next year, driving Alberta’s total exports to over $100 billion.”

The global recession did not have a significant impact upon Alberta’s export sector, with the number of exporters actually rising from 2,901 in 1999 to 2,972 in 2010. Alberta leads the country in posting the largest increase of exporters during this time period. Most other provinces sustained significant declines in the exporter population during the last decade.

“Alberta clearly bucked the trend by adding exporters during the past decade,” said Hall. “However, contrary to the trend in all other provinces, Alberta’s exports to emerging markets have receded since 2007.”

Alberta’s exports depend on the energy (largely oil and gas), industrial goods and agri-food sectors, which together account for 91 per cent of the province’s total international sales.

The energy sector generates over 72 per cent of the province’s total exports. EDC expects energy exports to jump by 14 per cent next year after a strong 8 per cent gain this year.

“The 2013 energy export story will be based on the estimated $20 billion in new oil sector investment this year, which will help drive up crude production by 300,000 barrels a day through next year,” said Hall

Alberta’s industrial goods sector accounts for more than 11 per cent of the province’s total exports, and is forecast to increase by 6 per cent next year, following a 2 per cent drop in 2012. “This year’s weakness in chemicals, metals and ores was enough to suppress positive growth in fertilizer, rubber and plastics. Growth in 2013 is all about the recovery in the U.S. economy.”

The agri-food sector is also important to Alberta’s export picture, responsible for 9 per cent of the province’s total exports, and will see growth of 9 per cent next year after an 11 per cent gain this year. “This year’s bumper harvest and strong price outlook will increase sales of special crops and wheat in 2013. Higher grain prices have also driven cattle sales as farmers trim back herds.”