Economists Paint Mixed Picture for 2011

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Economists are painting a mixed picture for Alaska in 2011.  The World Trade Center Alaska began a series of statewide economic forecast events with presentations to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. Jonathan King with Northern Economics said Alaska is expected to see flat to slow growth of gross state product, but things could be better depending on the price of oil.

King said Alaska’s G.S.P. could top $48 billion, but cautioned that high oil prices have a mixed affect, raising state revenue, while making it tougher on state residents who have to buy fuel. King said other natural resource development industries in Alaska are also expected to continue.

That should mean another robust year for Alaska exports.  Greg Wolf with the World Trade Center Alaska said sea food and mineral trade are likely to grow again in 2011.

Japan has long been Alaska’s chief trade partner, but Wolf said China is gaining ground fast, growing its purchases from Alaska industries from $100 to $800 million in the last six years.

Wolf said the state’s resource development industries have a lot of potential to increase business with Asian customers, citing a recent World Trade Center Alaska visit to the Pacific Rim, where a massive amount of growth is happening.

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