Friday, May 13, 2011

Calif. Export Levels Surpass Dot.Com Era Levels In March

California exporters shipped $13.95 billion worth of cargo in March, a 12.8 percent gain over March 2010 and the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year gains, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released Wednesday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Manufactured exports rose by 12.8 percent compared to the year-ago period, according to Beacon, while non-manufactured exports – primarily raw materials and agricultural products – were up by 10.9 percent. Re-exports, those goods brought into the U.S. and then shipped out again such as through a Foreign Trade Zone, increased by 17.9 percent in March.

“On an inflation-adjusted basis, California’s export trade hit a new high for the month of March, even exceeding the level of exports recorded at the height of the boom a decade ago,” Beacon’s International Trade Adviser Jock O’Connell said.

O'Connell said that it’s remarkable that the latest gains occurred despite the disruption brought to the normal transpacific trading patterns by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, California's fourth largest export market.

Beacon analysis experts predict that California’s export trade will continue to see positive growth. The report goes on to state that the chief factors currently aiding California exporters is growth in the state's target markets and the drop of the dollar to its lowest value in decades.

"The importance of these steady gains by exporters to the overall recovery of the U.S. economy shouldn't be underestimated," Beacon founding partner Christopher Thornberg said. "Rebalancing our external accounts is a critical component of healing the economy in the aftermath of the massive financial bubble that hit in the middle part of the last decade."

An apparent reprieve from steadily rising oil prices should also help exporters by keeping transportation costs in check at least through this summer, Beacon's O'Connell said.