CALGARY – Alberta's international exports are forecast to grow by 15 percent this year and another 8 percent in 2012, according to a Global Export Forecast by Export Development Canada (EDC). Exports of Alberta meats and live cattle are also expected to continue growing this year, thanks to higher prices, export volumes and a renewed preference among US consumers for more expensive cuts of meat, according to EDC.

"Voracious global demand for commodities will power Alberta's export growth this year," said Peter Hall, EDC chief economist. "The energy sector will do well, but the agri-food and industrial goods industries will rack up even more impressive numbers. Demand will continue to lift volume shipments in 2012, but weaker prices will temper overall growth."

Agri-food exports are forecast to jump 18 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 2012. Record-high prices for agricultural commodities in 2011 are expected to overshadow modest gains in export volumes. Growth in bio-fuel demand, coupled with the trend in emerging markets towards higher protein diets, continues to drive global demand for grains and oilseeds. These structural shifts in demand are pushing prices to record highs.

Fertilizers are expected to benefit greatly from the surge in food prices this year, although ammonia and urea will likely to see dampening prices beyond 2011.