OTTAWA—Export Development Canada (EDC) said Canadian companies that sell internationally are more confident about business prospects now than they were during the boom years prior to the recession.
The agency’s semi-annual Trade Confidence Index (TCI) moved up 1.8 points to 77.2—its third consecutive increase—indicating Canadian firms selling into foreign markets are more confident now than they were between 2003 and 2006.
The TCI measures how Canadian exporters and investors are feeling about their business opportunities in the coming six months.
“Canadian exporters are far more bullish on the (United States) economy compared with six months ago,” EDC chief economist Peter Hall said in the survey’s release.
“Of those that believe that the global economy is on the upswing, almost one third believe that the U.S. revival will be the primary catalyst in the coming six months. That’s up from just three per cent last fall.”
According to the agency, “a clear majority” of Canadian exporters believe their international sales will rise over the next six months.
EDC said 61 per cent of firms surveyed believe their international sales are set to rise, up from 55 per cent in the fall.
Another 50 per cent of respondents said they plan to export to new countries over the next two years, with 34 per cent having already exported to new countries in the past two years.
The U.S., China, Australia and the United Kingdom top the list of markets that Canadian companies have started selling to in the past two years.
A lower loonie is one of the key reasons that exporters are increasingly positive about international business opportunities, according to the survey, with 37 per cent of those with a positive outlook pointing to the softening Canadian dollar as a top reason for their optimism.
EDC said 58 per cent of all respondents felt the lower dollar had a positive effect on their export sales.
“A huge driver of improved business opportunities is the fall of the Canadian dollar,” Hall said. “Few were upbeat about a boost from the loonie six months ago, but of those that believed that business would be picking up in the next six months, 37 per cent think that our dollar will be the primary boost. That’s an impressive change.”
The TCI survey was conducted between March 24 and April 4, 2014.
A total of 1,000 Canadian businesses participated, and the TCI was calculated on a total of 752 respondents.