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Exports to grow 2% in 2016 thanks to auto, aerospace and consumer sectors: EDC

OTTAWA – A new forecast from Export Development Canada says the value of exports will grow two per cent this year after shrinking 1.5 per cent in 2015.

EDC chief economist Peter Hall says the optimistic outlook is based on expectations of double-digit expansion in exports by the automotive, consumer goods and aerospace industries.

On the flip side, Hall also projects a double-digit contraction for energy exports in 2016 as the commodity sector continues to struggle in a low price environment.

Hall says higher U.S. demand and the weaker Canadian dollar have helped boost sales in several important industries. His report says early 2016 numbers suggest sectors like agri-food, forestry, advanced technology and industrial machinery are set to expand this year.

The outlook predicts exports of consumer goods to expand 14 per cent, aerospace to grow 13 per cent and automotive by 10 per cent. Exports are expected to contract one per cent in the chemical and plastics sector, five per cent in fertilizers and 14 per cent in energy.

Hall says exporters should continue to benefit from the lower loonie through 2016, even though the dollar’s value has crept back up from recent lows.

“The U.S. economy is powering up and spreading its growth to the rest of the world, which is the main cause for Canada’s surging exports in the transportation and consumer goods categories,” Hall said in a statement that accompanied Monday’s report.