15 July 2008

The energy bubble


Statistics Canada's export data for May showed, among other things, just how much oil and other energy products are driving the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador at the moment.

Energy  - primarily oil and refined products - accounted for 73% of the value of all exports ($990 million out of $1.347 billion) from the province in May.

may exports

Compare that to $89.2 million worth of agricultural and fisheries products or $26.9 million in forest products.

The industrial goods column, coming in at $229.7 million in May, includes metal ore like nickel and iron.  That's 17% of the total exports for May.

Aside from the fairly obvious distortion energy prices are having on the value of exports, notice as well that the economy continues to be built - almost entirely - on the export of raw materials or semi-finished goods.

The largest category on the right side of the table, machinery and equipment, came in at a whopping $5.2 million.

The others are all less than $1.0 million.  Consumer goods exports was a mere $100,000.

One of the reasons for posting the Change and Challenge document was to give the opportunity for comparison between the current situation and the one some 16 years ago.

At the same time though, it's interesting to see the extent to which the goals set in 1992 have or have not been achieved.