Export Development Canada’s (EDC) forecast for Manitoba’s export growth calls for a strong gain of 7 per cent in 2013 after a 5 per cent gain this year.

“The long-awaited U.S. recovery and a strong global agri-food market will boost demand for Manitoba exports next year ahead of national average growth,” said Peter Hall, Chief Economist, EDC.

“In spite of the strong Canadian dollar, Manitoba’s manufacturing sector is on a tear, with rising sales in a number of key sectors, including aerospace, buses and agricultural equipment. This performance is no doubt aided substantially by its superior industrial and regional diversification.”

Global recession has eroded about 10 per cent of Manitoba’s export sector, with the number of exporters declining from 1,263 in 1999 to 1,156 in 2010.

“The good news is that Manitoba retained a relatively high level of exports to emerging markets, between 20 and 23 per cent, during the same time frame,” said Hall. “This continued diversification is an important factor in the province’s continued export strength. Next year’s gains will be by rapid emerging market sales and revived U.S. growth, giving exporters the best of both worlds.”

Manitoba’s exports depend on the agri-food, industrial goods and machinery/equipment sectors, which together account for three quarters of the province’s total international sales.

The agri-food sector generates over 36 per cent of the province’s total exports. EDC expects agri-food exports to jump by 14 per cent next year after a strong 12 per cent gain this year.

“Soaring grain prices, a result of the U.S. drought and continued tight global supply conditions, boosted this year’s numbers,” said Hall. “The 2012 bumper crop will give next year’s growth an additional boost. Higher canola production over the forecast period will help international sales, and exports will benefit from higher global prices.”

Manitoba’s industrial goods sector accounts for more than 27 per cent of the province’s total exports, and is forecast to decline by 3 per cent next year, following a 12 per cent drop in 2012. “This year’s drop is mainly due to a sharp decline in copper exports following the closure of the Trout Lake Mine. Despite disappointing near-term numbers, mining is ramping up for a big expansion. At the end of next year production will commence at Hudbay’s Lalor Project, and at its new mine at Reed Lake, bringing a strong rebound for metal exports in 2014.”

The equipment and machinery sector accounts for 12 per cent of the province’s total exports, and will see impressive 9 per cent growth next year after a 17 per cent gain this year. “We expect a surge in sales agricultural machinery, as higher food prices spur investment in farm operations around the world.”

“The transportation sector will be the star performer, with the aerospace industry seeing a surge in exports of aircraft parts by Boeing Winnipeg as production of the 787 Dreamliner ramps up,” added Hall. “Shipments of buses are also up a stunning 40 per cent so far this year, benefiting from improving economic conditions in the U.S.”