California’s exports shoot up in November

Port of Stockton
Port of Stockton

California’s exporters in November had the best month since before the recession, according to Beacon Economics’ analysis of foreign trade data released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

In November the state’s merchandise export trade totaled $15.22 billion, 14.2 percent more than the $13.33 billion in exports recorded in November 2012. By comparison, overall U.S. merchandise exports rose by just 5.9 percent over the same period.

California’s year-to-date $153.53 billion merchandise export trade for 2013 is running easily ahead of the $148.34 billion recorded in 2012.

“After a sputtering start to the year, California’s exporters are finishing 2013 with a remarkably strong surge,” said Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser Jock O’Connell. “I’d have said they were going like gangbusters, except that no one recalls that expression.”

Leading the uptick was a solid $1.38 billion jump in manufactured exports, which rose by 16.8 percent to $9.63 billion from $8.25 billion in November 2012.

The rise in manufactured exports is also helping to bolster California’s overall economy.

“After a slow start relative to the rest of the nation, California stepped up and added 4,300 new manufacturing positions over the past year,” Beacon Economics’ Director of Economic Research Jordan Levine said. “It’s a positive sign after several decades of decline associated with the loss of much of our aerospace industry in the 1990s and the technological change that has accompanied the computer age.”

The Computer and electronics products sector remains the single largest category of California exports, accounting for $11.01 billion in shipments in the latest three-month period. However, growth in this category was comparatively lackluster at 1.5 percent growth over the same period a year earlier.

Other significant gains were recorded in the latest three-month period for farm produce, up 18.1 percent to $4.50 billion, and processed food products, up 17.8 percent to $2.71 billion. Similarly, exports of petroleum products rose 21.2 percent to $1.76 billion.

Mexico remained California’s single largest export market during the latest three-month period, with the value of exports edging up by 5.0 percent to $6.25 billion. Exports to Canada were up 12.2 percent to $5.21 billion, while shipments to China surged by 19.9 percent to $4.08 billion. Japan (up 5.2 percent to $3.34 billion) and Hong Kong (up 10.5 percent to $2.32 billion) rounded out California’s ‘Top Five’ export destinations in the latest three-month period.


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