Goal 5

Value of Exports - Deep Dive

Nova Scotia will have increased the total annual value of exports (international and inter-provincial) by 50%.

Updated:

Value of Exports
Value of Exports Deep Dive

In real dollar terms, Nova Scotia’s total exports (inter-provincial and international) have remained relatively unchanged over the past decade, though in recent years there has been some growth in nominal terms as a result of price increases.

yearrealnominal
198162893787
198257583636
198357663914
198464524585
198567314837
198680385604
198780445891
198876285539
198980865990
199081126112
199181166255
199286106624
199388526940
199488847283
199591448070
199698998778
1997108949514
1998111729598
19991162110397
20001267012178
20011340712840
20021422413283
20031443813788
20041488214461
20051471214828
20061435814179
20071527515275
20081475515951
20091381513717
20101447414497
20111420515389
20121416915197
20131385815226
20141383715538
20151396715940

Nova Scotia’s total exports can be broken down by destination and type. Exports to other provinces account for just over half of the total. While goods – as opposed to services – account for just over half of the value of exports to other provinces, export goods account for a large majority of the value of exports to other countries. Overall, goods account for 62 per cent of the province’s total exports.

grouppercent
Exports of goods to other countries39.00%
Exports of services to other countries10.00%
Exports of goods to other provinces23.00%
Exports of services to other provinces28.00%

Though goods account for the lion’s share of the province’s exports, the service sector has been a much steadier source of growth since the early 2000s. The value of exports of goods to other provinces have grown by just 4.7 per cent from 2000 to 2015, while goods exports to other countries have declined by 2.2 per cent. Over that same period, service exports to other provinces have grown by 32.1 per cent, while services exported to other countries increased by 29.9 per cent.

yeargoods to other countriesservices to other countriesgoods to other provincesservices to other provinces
1981211535523821437
1982208136018151502
1983197334320021448
1984227837122741529
1985227438123341742
1986277442828132023
1987315438624252079
1988261537923792255
1989275238526362313
1990276146324272461
1991306350922942250
1992325254825022308
1993338162324872361
1994331473924362395
1995326278026822420
1996383787927352448
1997440798828192680
1998456899828202786
1999480899130382784
20005515108731242944
20015661107635523118
20026250118837833003
20036071111641463105
20046379127640603167
20056107131340493243
20065713126439353446
20076377128640163596
20085944120138403770
20095458125535223580
20105939128536193631
20115607122636773695
20125625126736973580
20135052128037963730
20145159136834213889
20155395141232713889

Though total international goods exports have remained relatively flat since the early 2000s, there has been significant shifts in the composition of commodities being exported, including significant growth in the province’s two largest merchandise export categories – seafood and tires. After declining through the 2000s, seafood exports have more than doubled since 2010, driven primarily by growing demand for lobster in Asian markets. Tire production at three Michelin plants in Nova Scotia has long been a quiet success for the province, but since 2010, tire exports have increased by 27 per cent.

Value ($ Millions) Share of total 200-2015 avg. annual growth
Seafood $1,663 30.8% 16.9%
Tires $1,203 22.3% 4.9%
Pulp and Paper $548 10.2% -3.4%
Natural gas $232 4.3% -14.7%
Sub-total $3,645 67.6%  
Total $5,390 100% 4.7%

Despite these recent successes, overall growth in the export of goods has been hampered by declining natural gas production. As recently as 2008, natural gas from Sable Island was the province’s largest merchandise export, valued at $1.6 billion that year. However, beginning in 2009, dwindling reserves at Sable Island led to a continuous decline in natural gas exports until reaching just $168 million in 2012. Though natural gas saw a brief resurgence in 2014 as production at the Deep Panuke natural gas project began in earnest, the discovery of lower than expected reserves resulted in a switch to seasonal production in 2015. Overall, natural gas exports have declined by 85 per cent since 2008.

yeartotalnon-energyenergy
19922342.5928442153.647901188.944943
19932430.4741212246.750823183.723298
19942609.811322417.479724192.331596
19952976.641912889.0385887.60333
19963116.5251732938.797594177.727579
19973161.0213663062.31063898.710728
19983439.9310093357.95273981.97827
19993984.5591063950.36679634.19231
20005131.8081144310.608805821.199309
20015706.6868664388.2575851318.429281
20025225.5719434364.246297861.325646
20035351.3362754073.2531271278.083148
20045430.4899294225.4399551205.049974
20055654.011064230.7659641423.245096
20065070.6746283955.0685991115.606029
20075287.6790844089.9522891197.726795
20085644.7249894082.5136321562.211357
20094236.5988723490.578928746.019944
20104278.9638213765.369838513.593983
20114394.5422773935.114409459.427868
20123834.518733666.620262167.898468
20134323.8779274060.777836263.100091
20145289.4953464551.087673738.407673
20155389.7099965158.139438231.570558

Looking forward, overall export growth rates should pick up as lower, but more stable, natural gas production provides less drag on strong growth in non-energy exports.

Changes to the indicator, baseline, or target:

  • The goal was assumed to be measuring exports in real dollars (as opposed to current prices)
  • Contextual numbers were removed from the goal statement. It was assumed that the target was to grow exports by 50 per cent over the baseline, not to the specific dollar value provided for context in the Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy. This was done to keep the goal consistent in case of future historical revisions to the source data.