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The low cost of natural gas will have a positive impact on manufacturing and create a competitive advantage for Canadian and US companies, according to a report released today by RBC Capital Markets and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The report, which focuses on the US shale gas boom, examines how the surge in unconventional gas production is transforming industrial sectors in Canada and the US.

"We are entering a paradigm shift in the way that businesses and national government look at energy, particularly as it relates to underlying market drivers, business models, risks and economic impact stemming from the shale gas boom," says Marc Harris, RBC Capital Markets' co-head of global research.

"The coming years will be transformative for companies, particularly those in the energy, infrastructure, manufacturing and transportation sectors, which will, in turn, create opportunities for both investors and corporations, adds Richard Talbot, co-head of global research at RBC Capital Markets.

Among the key findings in the report is that the vast majority of survey participants, 87 per cent, predict natural gas prices will stay the same or increase over the next two years. Seventy-three per cent of respondents anticipate a price increase of 10 per cent or more in the next five years.

The report finds that companies in the energy, manufacturing and transportation industries are reassessing underlying market drivers, business models and risks as a result of the shale gas boom. Respondents say shale gas will improve country competitiveness in Canada (48 per cent) and the US (52 per cent).

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