Tuesday, February 12, 2013

California Export Market Down, Report Says

California’s merchandise export trade finished 2012 on a weak note, owing largely to a sharp drop in shipments of electronics components to factories in Mexico, according to an analysis of newly released foreign trade data.

According to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released by the US Commerce Department on Feb. 8, California’s merchandise export trade for 2012 fell just short of the mark attained in 2011.

For December, California’s merchandise export trade was valued at $13.36 billion, a decline of 1.3 percent from the $13.53 billion recorded in December 2011. Adjusting for inflation, December exports were down 3.3 percent from the same month one year earlier.

“The December decline in exports was disappointing but not unexpected,” Beacon Economics international trade adviser Jock O’Connell said. “While the economies of several of our principal trading partners had been moving through a sluggish stage, California’s export trade has been severely pummeled by the shrinking worldwide demand for personal computers.”

That analysis reveals that exports to Mexico, California's leading foreign market, fell by 17.2% in the last quarter of 2012.

Significant fourth quarter declines were also observed in California shipments to South Korea (-7.8 percent), China (-6.4 percent), Japan (-3.4 percent) and Canada (-3.3 percent). Gains were recorded in exports to Taiwan (+7.1 percent) and the European Union (+2.6 percent), according to the Commerce Dept. data.

For 2012 as a whole, California merchandise exports totaled $161.7 billion, a gain of just 1.6 percent over 2011’s $159.12 billion.