Mid-year review: APEC sees record levels of investment

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The upsurge is largely due to the awarding of the naval contract to Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding which will have a large impact on investment especially later this decade.

Originally published in the July 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - "Outlook 2012 - Progress Report" special advertising feature

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council's 2012 Major Projects Inventory identifies a record $100 billion worth of major investment projects in various stages of development across Atlantic Canada, up 39 per cent over last year's inventory. This 29th Inventory edition, which catalogues 357 major investment projects across Atlantic Canada, was released June 6 in conjunction with the latest issue of APEC's Atlantic Report.

The upsurge is largely due to the awarding of the naval contract to Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding which will have a large impact on investment especially later this decade. Other new mega-projects such as Shell Canada's plan to spend $970 million in offshore Nova Scotia, the possibility of a second potash mine in New Brunswick and new large housing developments also added to the region's stock of potential investment. Newfoundland and Labrador continues to lead in overall share of the inventory at 48 per cent.

Investment has strengthened in Atlantic Canada with current-year spending on major projects up about eight per cent to $12.8 billion, also a record. Newfoundland and Labrador, which has seen its current-year major project spending rise 29 per cent to $8 billion in 2012 on strong emerging market demand for its oil and minerals, is leading growth in the region. Meanwhile, current-year major project spending fell in Nova Scotia (-4 per cent), Prince Edward Island (-17 per cent) and New Brunswick (-27 per cent). Federal government capital expenditure was reduced across the region now that the stimulus period is over, while provincial government capital spending also declined in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island as both provinces struggled to balance budgets.

The trends in the inventory suggest that opportunities for Atlantic firms will continue to rise according to Patrick Brannon, APEC research analyst.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is in the midst of a period of very strong investment that will continue for several more years,” said Brannon. “With the addition of the shipbuilding project in Halifax and a renewed focus on the Nova Scotia offshore, major project investment will be strong for years to come.”

A focus of this year's major projects research was the impact of labour shortages in parts of the region.

“Project proponents in Atlantic Canada are increasingly concerned about the difficulty in finding an adequate supply of labour, particularly skilled workers,” said Brannon. “Major project activity is surging in western Canada where high salaries and benefits are again luring away many Atlantic workers.”

Read more "Outlook 2012 - Progress Report" stories at: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Industry-Spotlight/Outlook-2012%3A-Progress-Report-23864

Organizations: APEC, Nova Scotia Business Journal, Irving Shipbuilding Shell Canada

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Halifax Prince Edward Island

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