Metals and mining seen as Ontario’s ‘star performer’ this year

22nd May 2013 By: Henry Lazenby - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

TORONTO ( – Metals and mining are expected to be Ontario’s “star performer” on the export stage this year, with the sector that makes up 34% of the province’s exports expected to grow by 15% in 2013.

Export Development Canada's (EDC’s) ‘Global Export Forecast for Ontario’, released on Wednesday, stated the province’s exports would get a “huge” boost this year, thanks to the double-digit surge in metal exports.

EDC chief economist Peter Hall said the improvement was timely.

"Ontario mineral producers can expect to ship a lot more volume in 2013, which will help to offset lower base metal prices. Gold production will jump by over 20%, while nickel output will be more muted. Added to that, chemical manufacturing, which will spike towards the end of the year, will round out a solid sectoral performance,” Hall said.

This sector was expected to grow by about 2% in 2014.

EDC expected Ontario's total international exports to grow by 8% this year and by another 4% in 2014.

Hall pointed out that after a few years of double-digit gains, the automotive sector would slow considerably, held back by tight capacity. “A revival of US private investment will be really good for Ontario's machinery and equipment industry this year and next," he said.

Meanwhile, the transportation sector was a historically important contributor to Ontario's export picture, contributing about 36% of the province's total shipments. EDC's forecast expected the sector to grow by 4% this year and 3% in 2014.

"The automotive industry, the province's largest export sector, will feel the slowing over the next two years, but remember, it has sustained the brisk expansion seen since the crisis. US demand for passenger vehicles is soaring, but the closing of GM's Oshawa plant will reduce Ontario's production capacity by about half-a-million units in 2013. Despite the production loss, Ontario is still doing quite well overall."

Nationally, Canadian merchandise exports were forecast to rise 9% in 2013 and 5% in 2014, while gross domestic product was expected to rise 2.2% this year and 1.9% next year. EDC was forecasting global growth of 3.6% in 2013 and 3.9% in 2014.