Some good economic news for California exporters

Export shipments by California companies in June were valued at $13.83 billion, a gain of 13.0 percent over the $12.25 billion reported in the same month last year, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department

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While the U.S. economy may be languishing in inertia, California exporters racked up their 20th consecutive month of vigorous growth in June.

Export shipments by California companies in June were valued at $13.83 billion, a gain of 13.0 percent over the $12.25 billion reported in the same month last year, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

“Adjusting for inflation, California’s export trade has firmly returned to its pre-recession peaks,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

“More importantly, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, California’s export trade remained on an upward trajectory through the second quarter of 2011, despite the economic and financial tribulations several of our leading trading partners have been enduring,” O’Connell said.

The importance of this favorable news cannot be under-estimated. Gearing up to meet export demand is one of the few incentives U.S. corporations have for investing in the domestic economy. “The primary source of growth for the U.S. over the past year has been through the export sector,” said Beacon Economics’ Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg. “Export trade is key in rebalancing the domestic economy given the massive trade deficit that opened in the middle part of the last decade.”

Beacon Economics expects continued growth in California’s export trade in the second half of the year, when the pace of trade historically picks up.

“The upside of a battered dollar is that California products, from farm produce to pharmaceuticals, are at bargain prices in the world market,” O’Connell said. “The recent drop in oil prices doesn’t hurt.”

The picture was less rosy on the import side of the ledger. The number of loaded inbound shipping containers arriving at the state’s seaports in June was down by 5.5 percent from the same month last year, while import tonnage through California’s airports declined by 11.7 percent.

Shippers don’t necessarily expect this to worsen, however.

We are not expecting large-scale cargo diversions,” said Robin Lanier, executive director of the Waterfront Coalition “The business climate for shippers using southern California can be difficult times, and those ports are more expensive because of PierPass and other fees.  But I believe that most of the discretionary cargo that could move easily to other ports, has already left Southern California.” 


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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