Confidence Among Canadian Exporters Goes Up – EDC Survey
Canadian exporters’ confidence has risen to its highest level in more than 20 years, after hitting a historic low at the start of the pandemic, according to a new survey Export Development Canada (EDC) released Thursday.
“We’re really seeing economic momentum building as vaccine rollouts progress and countries take further steps to reopen,” said EDC Chief Economist Peter Hall. “With key countries across the world slowly beginning to normalize, Canadian exporters are feeling optimistic about near-term growth prospects.”
The mid-year Trade Confidence Index (TCI) showed enormous progress, rising 19% to 80.5 from 67.5 at the end of 2020. This is the largest increase between two surveys, since the EDC survey began in 1999, it said.
For the second consecutive survey, all five TCI index elements as well as firm sizes, regions of the country, and sectors showed improvements. Among the index elements, improved outlooks for overall economic conditions — both domestic and global – saw the greatest increase. EDC is also seeing a broad-based recovery across all regions of the country. The West has the lowest confidence (76.4) score, while Quebec experienced the largest increase, up 18.7 points to reach a score of 85.4.
Confidence across all sectors rose, with transportation experiencing the highest gain since the end of 2020 (17.2). Information and communication technology is now the most confident sector, likely reflecting the rapid shift to online activities during the pandemic.
Most businesses continue to face the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 though, with 62% of companies reporting a decrease in sales due to the pandemic. That said, production levels are clearly improving, and a growing number of companies are now reporting positive impacts, which at 28%, is double last year’s rate. These results show that companies are adapting to new ways of work, and increasingly pivoting their production to take advantage of new demand trends.
The survey was conducted between April and June, spanning a period that saw fresh lockdowns amid a harsh third wave of COVID-19 infections followed by the early stages of reopening.