California exports continue brisk growth
April 12, 2011
California exporters recorded their 16th consecutive month of healthy year-over-year gains in February with shipments totaling $11.76 billion, a 13.4 percent increase over the same month last year, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released by the U.S. Commerce Department.
Manufactured exports were up 9.4 percent, while non-manufactured exports (chiefly raw materials and agricultural products) rose by 10.6 percent. Re-exports were meanwhile up by 30.8 percent.
“On an inflation-adjusted basis, California’s export trade this February exactly matched the value of our exports in February 2008, before the global economy began its precipitous slide into an abysmal recession,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.
“Growing exports will continue to be an important part of the recovery in the nation and in California,” added Beacon Economics Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg. “The solid employment numbers coming out of San Jose and San Diego can be directly traced to growing technology exports.”
Unlike the United States as a whole, which saw merchandise exports decline 2.3 percent from January to February, California’s exports of goods this February topped the previous month’s total by $17 million.
“Export figures should really be viewed as lagging economic indicators in the sense that cargos departing today are the result of foreign orders for California goods that were placed weeks or even months ago,” O’Connell advised.
“Interpreting February’s numbers does not require a crystal ball but rather a review of news reports from last fall to see what was happening then that might have been informing business expectations about the future,” O’Connell explained.
In an interview with LM, O’Connell noted that On the plus side for California exporters, the dollar has fallen 6 percent so far this year against a weighted basket of currencies from America’s major trading partners.
“Most forecasts call for the dollar to move even lower as the year through this year,” he said.
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