Canadian exporters have many reasons to be fearful. Anti-trade rhetoric is higher than at any point in recent history. Free trade agreements are being scuttled, or renegotiated. There’s a real-time threat to the world’s largest economic union.
And yet, Canadian companies’ confidence in selling abroad is surprisingly strong right now, even slightly higher than it was six months ago according to a semi-annual report by Export Development Canada (EDC).
The Trade Confidence Index (TCI), released today, is a pulse check of Canadian exporters’ level of confidence and their expectations of international trade opportunities over the next six months. And the results are not what you might expect.
With international trade facing its greatest existential threat in the post-war period, Canada's TCI has increased 1.6 points from 72.3 in Fall 2016 to 73.9 in Spring 2017.
The most recent survey, conducted by EDC even has Chief Economist Peter Hall surprised. “While the change might seem small, it’s a strong statement on how Canadian companies are reacting to what’s going on in the U.S.,” said Peter Hall, Chief Economist, EDC. “Given U.S. anti-trade shock-talk, confidence might well have tumbled, even sharply. Instead, exporters surprised with a modest rise in confidence.”
Why aren’t companies worried? It seems they’re too busy processing current business to fret about policies that may or may not come into effect. Sure, they are concerned – but not enough to convince them that near-term economic prospects will weaken.
“What’s clear from this survey is that Canadian companies aren’t getting thrown off their game by rhetoric or policy threats; for now, it’s status quo,” said Hall. “Anecdotally, we are hearing from companies that near-term contracts continue to roll in from their US buyers, giving them some measure of security. They are paying attention to the trade debate, but getting on with the job.”
The TCI rose in all industry categories, and in all regions except Quebec. Click here to learn more about EDC and the Trade Confidence Index.
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Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, we equip Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to grow their business with confidence. Underlying all our support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business. To help Canadian businesses facing extreme financial challenges brought on by the global response to COVID-19, the Government of Canada has expanded EDC’s domestic capabilities until December 31, 2021. This broader mandate will enable EDC to expand its support to companies focused domestically.
For more information and to learn how we can help your company, call us at 1-800-229-0575 or visit www.edc.ca.