Goal 5

Value of Exports - Deep Dive


Goal Status

donut shaped icon to signify the status of not progressing Not Progressing Not On Track
Current: $14.3B
Baseline: $15B
Target: $22.5B
Bands

In real dollar terms, Nova Scotia’s total exports (interprovincial 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.

Year Real Nominal
1981 6640 3769
1982 6076 3617
1983 6088 3893
1984 6819 4557
1985 7098 4805
1986 8500 5571
1987 8594 5854
1988 8059 5497
1989 8524 5942
1990 8582 6067
1991 8631 6211
1992 9155 6586
1993 9407 6893
1994 9416 7234
1995 9646 8020
1996 10530 8729
1997 11638 9463
1998 11946 9547
1999 12433 10342
2000 13614 12121
2001 14364 12781
2002 15288 13224
2003 15478 13722
2004 15970 14394
2005 15754 14756
2006 15384 14155
2007 16283 15181
2008 15711 15848
2009 14711 13616
2010 15380 14384
2011 15140 15304
2012 15098 15098
2013 14999 14930
2014 14286 14327
2015 13983 14855
2016 14077 15365
2017 14348 15822

Download CSV File

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 larger share of the value of exports to other countries. Overall, goods accounted for 57 per cent of the province’s total exports in 2017.

Group Percent
Exports of goods to other countries 33.2%
Exports of services to other countries 12.8%
Exports of goods to other provinces 23.7%
Exports of services to other provinces 30.6%

Download CSV File

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 has been relatively unchanged from 2000 to 2017, while goods exports to other countries have declined by 15.2 per cent. Over that same period, service exports to other provinces have grown by 35.3 per cent, while services exported to other countries increased by 50.3 per cent.

Year Goods to other countries Services to other countries Goods to other provinces Services to other provinces
1981 2152 400 2600 1617
1982 2117 405 1982 1686
1983 2007 387 2186 1629
1984 2317 418 2477 1716
1985 2313 429 2545 1955
1986 2821 482 3073 2274
1987 3208 435 2645 2333
1988 2660 426 2593 2526
1989 2799 434 2866 2594
1990 2808 521 2650 2759
1991 3115 573 2506 2518
1992 3307 617 2744 2579
1993 3438 702 2718 2632
1994 3370 832 2659 2663
1995 3317 879 2928 2689
1996 3902 990 2986 2706
1997 4482 1113 3078 2963
1998 4646 1123 3080 3077
1999 4890 1116 3320 3069
2000 5609 1224 3412 3245
2001 5757 1212 3879 3437
2002 6356 1337 4131 3309
2003 6174 1257 4527 3417
2004 6487 1437 4433 3488
2005 6210 1479 4421 3568
2006 5809 1424 4351 3793
2007 6484 1449 4384 3918
2008 6044 1353 4192 4107
2009 5552 1414 3845 3899
2010 6040 1448 3951 3946
2011 5702 1382 4014 4043
2012 5726 1427 4036 3909
2013 5408 1540 4165 3883
2014 5023 1672 3428 4179
2015 4827 1743 3282 4161
2016 4771 1795 3246 4310
2017 4759 1840 3404 4390

Download CSV File

Though total international goods exports have remained relatively flat since the early 2000s, there has 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 22 per cent.

Nova Scotia International Merchandise Export by Select Commodity, 2017

  Value ($ millions) Share of total   2000-2017 average annual growth
Seafood $1,959 36.6%

3.5%

Tires $1,155 21.6%

2.0%

Pulp and paper $448 8.4%

-3.3%

Natural gas $18 0.3%

-20.2%

Sub-total $3,579 66.9%  
Total $5,348 100%

0.2%

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 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 per cent since 2008.

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 5230817 5132045 98772
2017 5347968 5327373 20595

Download CSV File

Looking forward, overall export growth rates should pick up as lower, but more stable, natural gas production has less of an offsetting impact 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.