Agri-food exports helping Saskatchewan deal with soft oil prices: export agency

REGINA – A report says strong demand for food and fertilizer this year will help Saskatchewan deal with a five per cent drop in export revenues.

A forecast by Export Development Canada says the province faces a 27 per cent reduction in energy exports due to low oil prices.

Peter Hall, the agency’s chief economist, says the hit will be mostly offset by growth in the agri-food and fertilizer sectors.

He says sales of such commodities are getting a lift from the weaker Canadian dollar and growing global demand for food.

The federal agency says the agri-food sector accounts for 40 per cent of Saskatchewan’s exports.

Potash fertilizer exports are expected to increase by 18 per cent this year.

“Saskatchewan will take a nasty hit to its energy exports this year,” Hall said Tuesday. “Growth in the agri-food and fertilizer industries will shore up the bottom line.”

The agency is forecasting a partial rebound in energy exports next year, with an expected increase in demand and oil prices at the $70-per-barrel level.