B.C. exports expected to boom in the Year of the Snake

For some of the mystically minded, it might not be worth looking at forecasts beyond Christmas, let alone 2013.

For some of the mystically minded, it might not be worth looking at forecasts beyond Christmas, let alone 2013.

The end of the world is fast approaching, if sages like Nostradamus are to be believed. We shouldn’t forget that the end of the Mayan calendar four days before Christmas this year portents to the end of times as we know it.

To be fair, 2012 has had its share of world-shattering disasters. Widespread droughts in the U.S. and eastern Europe caused spikes in global food prices and stoked fears of worsening global hunger. Superstorm Sandy along North America’s east coast caused billions of dollars in damage and devastated the lives of millions in one of the continent’s most densely populated urban areas. And B.C.’s coast has been rocked by more than 150 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 and above on the Richter scale in the past month, according to Earthquakes Canada.

Doomsayers still have a month left for their prophecies to come true. But for those harbouring more optimism about humanity’s future, there is some good news close to home.

According to Export Development Canada (EDC), B.C.’s exports are expected to rebound sharply next year, by as much as 10% after a 3% decline predicted for 2012.

That would make for a significant jump in the Chinese lunar calendar’s Year of the Snake, which some astrologers suggest will be a year of prosperity and fortune.

Such news would delight companies that have suffered from the continual slowdown of the Chinese economy over the past couple of years, most recently due to deceleration caused by the European debt crisis and fiscal and political challenges in the U.S.

EDC is forecasting the industrial goods sector in B.C., which includes base metal products like copper and molybdenum, to rise 6% in 2013 after dropping 9% this year.

The biggest jump in exports could be in the province’s forestry sector, which the EDC expects to grow a staggering 18% next year, after remaining relatively flat thus far in 2012. The bulk of that growth will come from an estimated 40% jump in U.S. housing starts next year, coupled with continued demand for B.C. wood in China. •