COVID-19: Atlantic Canada International Exports Update
As of June 4, 2020
- Today’s export numbers show Atlantic Canada’s international merchandise exports fell 44% year-over-year in April which follows a 21% drop year-over-year in March. The decline in April was larger than the 35% reduction nationally.
- Regionally, exports fell the most in Newfoundland and Labrador (54% in April) and New Brunswick (39%).
- The combined reduction in the value of Atlantic exports in March and April was $1.8 billion.
- The World Trade Organization forecasts global export volumes will fall between 13% and 32% in 2020 before rebounding 21-24% in 2021.
- Global demand for many of Atlantic Canada’s key exports, including refined and crude oil, seafood products and tires has fallen due to the impact of COVID-19 and lower commodity prices.
- Refined oil exports were down 69% ($500 million) in April compared to last year due to the combined impact of a 65% drop in crude oil prices, the shut down of the Come-by-Chance oil refinery at the end of March, and a plunge in demand for gasoline and other refined products.
- Crude oil exports are down 60% in April largely due to lower prices. Production in Newfoundland is up 17% in the first four months of the year led by strengthening production at Hebron.
- Seafood exports declined 35% or $95 million in April. Lobster exports were down 46%, crab was down 65%. Exports of lobster and crab are seasonally low in April muting the overall negative impact. Seafood exports are likely to have a much larger negative dollar reduction in May.
- Several other important exports are also down including tires (63%) and forest products (19%).
- While most larger value products were down, a few were less impacted including iron ore (-9%), lumber (-1%), natural gas (+165%) and fruit (+11%).
- International tourism, transportation, and cruise services to Atlantic Canada will be sharply lower this year. Statistics Canada estimates the export of services was down 23% nationally in April led by declines in travel (52%) and transport services (38%). Commercial services such as professional and financial services are only down 8%.
- Exports to the United States were down 51% in April. The US is opening up again, but demand will take time to recover.
- Exports to China from Atlantic Canada declined 35% in February over the previous year but were down only 13% in April due to stronger iron ore exports.
- Several of Atlantic Canada’s other trading partners including Germany, Japan and South Korea have flattened the COVID-19 curve and are reopening their economies. However, others including the UK and emerging markets like India and Brazil are facing a longer road to recovery. View APEC’s Global COVID-19 page for more details.
(click here for a PDF of the chart below)