Friday, June 10, 2011

California Exporters Buck Economic Trends

Bucking the recent slowing trends in the global economic recovery, California exporters posted an impressive 14.1 percent increase in April over the year-ago period with shipments totaling $12.9 billion, according to an analysis, by Beacon Economics, of foreign trade data released Thursday by the United States Commerce Department.

The April numbers are the most recent released by the Commerce Department.
California's manufactured exports rose by 10.7 percent in April, while non-manufactured exports such as raw materials and agricultural products were up by 21.3 percent over April 2010. Re-exports, those goods brought into the U.S. and then shipped out again such as through a Foreign Trade Zone, posted a 22.4 increase compared to April of last year.

“On an inflation-adjusted basis, California’s export trade in April nearly equaled the pre-recession high for that month achieved back in 2007,” Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser Jock O’Connell said.

O'Connell noted that April marked the 18th consecutive month of strong year-over-year gains in California’s merchandise export trade.

The gains, Beacon Economics' Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg said, could have implications for the broader economy.

"Exports are likely to play an important role in the economic boost we expect to see in the second half of this year," Thornberg said.

Imports, while still showing growth in April, did not grow at the strong pace of exports with the value of foreign goods entering the U.S. through California’s seaports, airports and border crossings increasing by just 9.9 percent compared to April 2010.

Beacon Economics predicts that California’s job-generating export trade will continue to expand, albeit at a somewhat more moderate pace through the remainder of the year.

“The economic growth rates of several of our principal trading partners have been decelerating, in some cases like China and India from speeds that were plainly unsustainable over the long-term.” O’Connell said. “That’s apt to shrink but certainly not stifle their appetite for imported goods.”

However, O'Connell added that California exporters should continue to enjoy the competitive benefits of a dollar that has been trading at some of the lowest levels in decades.