11/12/2014 10:18 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST

Ontario poised for export boom as U.S. recovers, EDC says

Ontario manufacturers and exporters are going to see their output grow by seven per cent this year, the top federal agency tasked with monitoring and stimulating Canadian sales abroad says.

In a report Wednesday, Export Development Canada says the province's exporters are going to benefit from a strengthening U.S. economy and will see shipments to the U.S. grow at a much faster pace than we've seen in recent years.

Exports are forecast to grow by seven per cent this year and five per cent next, the EDC said. The industrial machinery sector in particular will see even stronger growth of 10 per cent this year and 17 per cent in 2015.

"Ontario’s industrial machinery industry is well-positioned to service this higher demand. Rising U.S. industrial output will also boost Ontario’s chemicals and plastics industry to 12 per cent and five per cent export growth in 2014 and 2015, respectively," the EDC's chief economist Peter Hall said.

After a rough couple of years, Ontario's hard-hit auto sector is finally back to pre-recession levels of production. In 2008, when the recession was at its nadir, the province only made 1.4 million cars. This year, Ontario car plants are on pace to crank out 2.3 million vehicles.

Cars and car parts made up 35 per cent of Ontario's exports last year, and that share is expected to grow, Hall said — by eight per cent in 2014 and another three per cent in 2015.

"A lower Canadian dollar and increasing U.S. auto sales will help to support the industry's growth, but it will continue to face competition from Mexico and southern U.S. states​," Hall said.

The mining industry is Ontario's second-largest sector, and while it's not expected to grow quite as fast as manufacturing, it too, is poised for growth of three per cent this year and six per cent next.

Gold miners in the province are expected to crank out more gold this year and next, even as prices for the precious metal are nearing multi-year lows.