Goal 5

Value of Exports - Deep Dive


Goal Status

donut shaped icon to signify the status of not progressing Not Progressing Not On Track
Baseline: $15B
Current: $15.1B
Target: $22.5B
Bands

In real dollar terms, Nova Scotia’s total exports (interprovincial and international) are at a similar level as a decade ago, though in recent years there has been some growth in nominal terms because of price increases.

Year Real Nominal
1981 6667 3775
1982 6098 3622
1983 6110 3899
1984 6840 4562
1985 7113 4805
1986 8523 5576
1987 8617 5858
1988 8082 5502
1989 8548 5948
1990 8604 6072
1991 8654 6216
1992 9182 6594
1993 9433 6899
1994 9442 7242
1995 9673 8029
1996 10558 8738
1997 11669 9473
1998 11979 9559
1999 12468 10355
2000 13650 12134
2001 14401 12795
2002 15338 13241
2003 15529 13739
2004 16021 14411
2005 15813 14781
2006 15442 14182
2007 16308 15208
2008 15735 15874
2009 14725 13632
2010 15422 14425
2011 15187 15353
2012 15171 15171
2013 15082 15018
2014 14381 14424
2015 14098 14987
2016 13722 14989
2017 14171 15637
2018 14564 16664
2019 15059 17383

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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 around half of the value of exports to other provinces, export goods account for a larger share of the value of exports to other countries. Overall, goods accounted for 57 per cent of the province’s total exports in 2019.

Group Percent
Exports of goods to other countries 33.00%
Exports of services to other countries 14.42%
Exports of goods to other provinces 23.93%
Exports of services to other provinces 28.95%

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Year Goods to other countries Services to other countries Goods to other provinces Services to other provinces
1981 2152 413 2600 1636
1982 2117 414 1982 1705
1983 2007 396 2186 1647
1984 2317 423 2477 1736
1985 2313 426 2545 1976
1986 2821 488 3073 2298
1987 3207 439 2645 2358
1988 2659 432 2593 2552
1989 2798 440 2866 2620
1990 2807 526 2650 2786
1991 3114 577 2506 2543
1992 3306 624 2744 2605
1993 3437 707 2718 2658
1994 3369 838 2659 2688
1995 3316 887 2928 2714
1996 3901 997 2986 2729
1997 4481 1120 3078 2990
1998 4645 1133 3080 3104
1999 4889 1128 3320 3095
2000 5608 1234 3412 3272
2001 5756 1223 3879 3465
2002 6355 1361 4131 3335
2003 6173 1280 4527 3444
2004 6486 1461 4433 3516
2005 6209 1513 4421 3595
2006 5808 1458 4351 3821
2007 6483 1480 4384 3912
2008 6043 1382 4192 4102
2009 5551 1433 3845 3894
2010 6039 1491 3951 3945
2011 5701 1431 4014 4041
2012 5725 1501 4036 3909
2013 5406 1626 4165 3882
2014 5021 1777 3428 4172
2015 4824 1870 3282 4153
2016 4642 2069 3032 4037
2017 4739 2094 3193 4202
2018 4795 2128 3430 4262
2019 4970 2171 3603 4360

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Though total international goods exports have remained relatively flat since the early 2000s, there have been notable shifts in the composition of commodities being exported. This includes 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. Tires produced and exported by Michelin plants in Nova Scotia have also increased by 38.2 per cent.

Nova Scotia International Merchandise Export by Select Commodity, 2019

  Value ($ millions) Share of total   2000-2019 average annual growth
Seafood $2,321 38.4%

4.0%

Tires $1,308 21.6%

2.4%

Pulp and paper $447 7.4%

-2.9%

Natural gas $12 0.2%

-19.9%

Sub-total $4,089 67.6%  
Total $6,052 100%

0.9%

Despite these recent successes, overall 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 they reached just $168 million in 2012. Though natural gas saw a brief resurgence in 2014 as production at the Deep Panuke 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 99.2 per cent since 2008.

Looking forward, overall export growth rates are expected to decline on closure of Northern Pulp, weak global growth due to COVID-19 and appreciation of Canadian dollar.

Year Total Non-energy Energy
1997 3161021 3079987 81034
1998 3439931 3358835 81096
1999 3984557 3947494 37063
2000 5131809 4320476 811333
2001 5706687 4427716 1278971
2002 5225572 4371966 853606
2003 5351335 4081532 1269803
2004 5430489 4285648 1144841
2005 5654009 4220623 1433386
2006 5070674 4000918 1069756
2007 5287682 4100469 1187213
2008 5644725 4098135 1546590
2009 4236599 3497080 739519
2010 4278963 3794833 484130
2011 4394543 3984464 410079
2012 3834520 3676566 157954
2013 4323878 4156154 167724
2014 5249997 4512292 737705
2015 5345621 5104255 241366
2016 5227418 5128646 98772
2017 5348078 5327483 20595
2018 5723999 5672064 51935
2019 6051573 6025251 26322

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Looking forward, overall export growth rates should pick up on back of global economic growth and stable Canadian dollar. Production disruption in the forestry sector are likely to slow export growth temporarily.

 

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% over the baseline, not to the specific dollar value provided for context in the OneNS report. This was done to keep the goal consistent in case of future historical revisions to the source data.
  • Seafood definition is changed to match the goal 15 seafood definition.