California outpaces nation in exports

The $12.32 billion in goods California businesses shipped abroad in September exceeded the $10.352 billion sent to foreign markets in September 2009 by a healthy 19.0 percent, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics

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While unemployment remained high and foreclosures were on the rise, California’s exporters turned in another strong performance in September.

The $12.32 billion in goods California businesses shipped abroad in September exceeded the $10.352 billion sent to foreign markets in September 2009 by a healthy 19.0 percent, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of international trade data released by the U.S. Commerce Department.

September marked the eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year increases in California’s export trade, according to Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser. ?
“To be sure, September 2009 did not set a very high bar for comparison purposes, but the year-to-year increase was still remarkably robust,” O’Connell said.

California also outpaced the nation as a whole in merchandise export growth in September, 19.0 percent to 17.9 percent.

In inflation-adjusted terms, California’s export trade in September almost exactly matched the value of its merchandise exports in September 2008, when international trade began to plummet as the U.S. recession took root worldwide.

The value of the state’s manufactured exports this September was up by 19.0 percent from last September, while shipments of agricultural goods and other non-manufactured products increased by 10.7 percent.  Re-exports of items previously imported into the state jumped by 24.3 percent.

California accounted for 11.4 percent of all U.S. merchandise exports in September.

“All indications are that the sustained growth in September’s exports was led by airborne shipments of high-value items such as electronics components, medical and scientific instruments, and pharmaceuticals,” O’Connell observed.

The value of exports through the state’s international airports was up 26.5 percent from last September, while the value of maritime exports via California’s seaports rose by a more modest 13.7 percent.
In Southern California, the number of loaded outbound containers from the neighboring Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was up by 5.7 percent from last September, while Los Angeles International saw a 16.3 percent increase in air freight export tonnage.

In the Bay Area, exported air freight tonnage through San Francisco International was up by 34.0 percent from last September, while outbound loaded container traffic across the Bay at the Port of Oakland actually fell by 5.1 percent.

“Most Californians don’t appreciate that, in terms of dollar value, about half of this state’s export trade moves by air,” O’Connell pointed out. “Not surprisingly, terrorist incidents involving air freight pose a particularly acute threat to California’s economy.”

Beacon also came to some interesting conclusions about inbound freight recently.

In an interview with LM, O’Connell, said some California importers are moving high-tech products from Asia in to LAX via air carrier, and trucking cargo to Miami.

“It is often a less expensive alternative to moving point-to-point,” he said. “Especially if the goods are eventually destined for Latin America.”

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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