PORTLAND, Maine — Maine and U.S. exports to Canada have taken a hit as the neighbor to the north slips into recession and its currency hits an 11-year low in relation to the U.S. dollar.

Exports from Maine to Canada are down 23.7 percent so far this year, although Maine International Trade Center President Janine Bisaillon-Cary said Friday that the figure is overstated by a sharp drop in certain fuel exports that pass into and back out of Maine.

All other exports are down about 4.2 percent so far this year, which she said is in line with the national 5.2 percent drop in exports to Canada that comes amid slow economic growth for the Canadian economy that depends heavily on minerals and fossil fuels.

“They are a very creative and export-driven economy, but a lot of their economic strength depends on oil and minerals,” Bisaillon-Cary said. “Those [prices] have been down for a good length of time now, so it’s going to take its toll.”

The latest economic growth figures released by Statistics Canada last week show the country slipped into a recession in the second quarter. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Bank of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz attributed much of that slowdown to lagging oil and gas prices that caused some producers to hold off on new investments.

Through June, Maine exports of vehicles and vehicle parts, wood pulp and recovered paper and paperboard, certain twine, felt and rope and plastics exports were down most significantly among the top 25 commodities shipped to Canada, the state’s largest trading partner.

Bisaillon-Cary said the relative value of Canadian currency to the U.S. dollar could influence how much its companies decided to import from the U.S., but the broader recession affects just how willing people and companies are to spend or make investments.

Hoteliers in the popular holiday destination of Old Orchard Beach, however, have perceived a change in consumer behavior in response to the exchange rate disparity this year, according to CBS 13. The station reported last week that hotel owners they spoke with noticed Canadian tourists taking shorter trips less often this summer, as the Canadian dollar has reached a value of about 75 cents to the U.S. dollar.

The drop hasn’t yet shown in local restaurant and lodging sales for the town, but the full tallies for the peak months of July and August aren’t yet available from Maine Revenue Services. Restaurant and lodging sales categories each were up more than 7 percent for April-June in Old Orchard, but it’s not clear even with complete figures how much is attributable to tourism from Canada.

The exchange rate could play a role in declining passenger traffic across the border, however. Passenger vehicles crossing from Canada to Maine in June dropped 16.6 percent, to 219,676 from 263,641 in June 2014. Total passengers crossing into Maine from Canada declined 15 percent in June, compared with last year.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.