WINNIPEG – Manitoba's agri-food exports are forecast to grow 5 percent in 2011 and 7 percent in 2012. Prices for livestock and meat are expected to increase thanks to overall consumption increases and consumption shifts towards more expensive cuts. However, soaring feed costs will continue to squeeze industry profit margins and pricing for certain types of livestock exports will continue to be weighed down in 2011 by US country-of-origin labeling regulations, EDC said. Asian-bound shipments, on the other hand, will receive a large boost through 2012 as China phases out the remaining restrictions on Canadian beef.

Manitoba's overall exports are forecast to increase 15 percent in 2011 and rise another 6 percent in 2012. This predicted growth will be driven by climbing commodity prices and stronger demand from the US, according to a Global Export Forecast by Export Development Canada (EDC).

The province's international exports are led by three key sectors: Agri-food, accounting for 39.5 percent of the province's total exports; industrial goods, accounting for 23.3 percent; and energy, accounting for 9 percent.