Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian exporter optimism reaches 10-year high

Businesses confident about international opportunities in spite of concerns about domestic economy

OTTAWA—Canadian companies are feeling optimistic about international business opportunities in the next six months, an new Export Development Canada report says.

The report is a summary of EDC’s Trade Confidence Index survey, which measures a number of elements that together, give an indication of how Canadian exporters and investors are feeling about their business opportunities in the next six months.

“In spite of weak data and increasing concern about the U.S. economy, Canadian exporters still seem to be expecting improvement in the global trade arena,” Peter Hall, the EDC’s chief economist said. “There is also increased interest in doing business in new countries, a sign that market diversification is alive and well.”

Among all the elements of the survey, respondents’ expectations around international business opportunities increased the most over last fall’s report, with 45 per cent of respondents believing opportunities will improve, up from 33 per cent in the fall of 2014. Sentiment for international business opportunities has reached its highest point in the last 10 years.

Respondents cited the low Canadian dollar and resurgence of the U.S. economy as the main reasons for their positive outlook.

Overall trade confidence was tempered, however, by exporters’ bearish outlook on the domestic economy, which was mainly attributed to the downturn in the oil and gas sector and low Canadian dollar.

Weaker results in this element of the survey caused the overall TCI score for Spring 2015 to fall slightly to 75.1, down from 75.8 last fall. Despite the drop, the TCI level remains above the historical average.

“The small drop in the Index is no cause for alarm,” said Hall. “The weaker overall result is totally due to softer domestic market expectations. In contrast, optimism about international business opportunities surged this spring.”

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