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What Is Restraining Non-Energy Export Growth?


  • Dany Brouillette
  • José Dorich
  • Chris D'Souza
  • Adrienne Gagnon
  • Claudia Godbout


This note summarizes the key findings from Bank of Canada staff analytical work examining the reasons for the recent weakness in Canadian non-energy exports. Canada steadily lost market share in US non-energy imports between 2002 and 2017, mostly reflecting continued and broad-based competitiveness losses. In addition to this evidence from the demand side, industry analysis points to supply constraints that are limiting export growth, such as physical capacity and shortages of skilled labour. Transportation bottlenecks, environmental and regulatory changes, and the inability to source raw materials also appear to be limiting export growth in some industries. Evidence suggests supply-side capacity constraints at the industry level as well. These constraints mainly reflect a decline in the factors of production, such as labour input and capital stock, which are likely related to the ongoing competitiveness losses. Simulations using the Bank of Canada’s ToTEM model suggest that demand factors such as competitiveness issues explain most of the recent weakness in non-commodity exports. The simulations also indicate that a monetary policy reaction is required, independent of whether the weakness is driven by demand or supply factors. Staff expect broad-based competitiveness losses and structural supply factors to continue to restrain the growth of non-energy exports over the projection horizon, which extends until 2020.

Suggested Citation

  • Dany Brouillette & José Dorich & Chris D'Souza & Adrienne Gagnon & Claudia Godbout, 2018. "What Is Restraining Non-Energy Export Growth?," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-25, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocsan:18-25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. André Binette & Tony Chernis & Daniel de Munnik, 2017. "Global Real Activity for Canadian Exports: GRACE," Discussion Papers 17-2, Bank of Canada.
    2. Taylor Webley, 2018. "Characterizing Canada’s Export Sector by Industry: A Supply-Side Perspective," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-27, Bank of Canada.
    3. José Dorich & Vadym Lepetyuk & Jonathan Swarbrick, 2018. "Weakness in Non-Commodity Exports: Demand versus Supply Factors," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-28, Bank of Canada.
    4. Martin Coiteux & Patrick Rizzetto & Lena Suchanek & Jane Voll, 2014. "Why Do Canadian Firms Invest and Operate Abroad? Implications for Canadian Exports," Discussion Papers 14-7, Bank of Canada.
    5. Nicholas Labelle, 2018. "Decomposing Canada’s Market Shares: An Update," Staff Analytical Notes 2018-26, Bank of Canada.
    6. Patrick Alexander & Jean-Philippe Cayen & Alex Proulx, 2017. "An Improved Equation for Predicting Canadian Non-Commodity Exports," Discussion Papers 17-1, Bank of Canada.
    7. Russell Barnett & Karyne B. Charbonneau, 2015. "Decomposing Movements in U.S. Non-Energy Import Market Shares," Discussion Papers 15-5, Bank of Canada.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    International topics; Monetary Policy; Recent economic and financial developments; Trade Integration;

    JEL classification:

    • F - International Economics
    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy


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