Another surge for California’s exports
December 14, 2010 - LM Editorial
Even though California’s economic recovery remains a work in progress, Golden State exporters turned in their best performance ever for the month of October.
In inflation-adjusted terms, California’s export trade this October exceeded by 1.1 percent the previous high for that month, achieved in October 2007, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.
“Our export trade is now operating at a pace not seen since the onset of the Great Recession,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.
The $12.91 billion in goods California businesses shipped abroad this October also exceeded the $11.08 billion sent to overseas markets in the same month in 2009 by a healthy 16.5 percent margin.
In an interview with LM, however, he cautioned that the state still has a long way to go before economists will offer a rosier forecast.
“Have we turned the corner? Well, maybe,” he said. “But it’s not going to be reflected in a higher standard of living for all Californians,” he said.
The value of the state’s manufactured exports this October was up by 10.7 percent from last October, while shipments of agricultural goods and other non-manufactured products soared by 34.6 percent. Meanwhile, re-exports of items previously imported into the state jumped by 25.2 percent.
October marked the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year increases in California’s export trade.
California accounted for 11.0 percent of all U.S. merchandise exports in October.
“All indications are that growth in California’s exports continue to be led by airborne shipments of high-value items such as electronics components, medical and scientific instruments, perishable food items, and pharmaceuticals,” O’Connell observed.
Airborne shipments accounted for 46.9 percent of the state’s $12.91 billion in October merchandise exports, while seaborne trade represented 30.3 percent. Overland trade with Mexico and Canada, California’s two largest trading partners, accounted for the remaining 22.8 percent of state exports.
In Southern California, the number of loaded outbound containers from the neighboring Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was up by 11.8 percent from last October, while Los Angeles International saw a 31.4 percent increase in air freight export tonnage.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, exported air freight tonnage through San Francisco International was up by 15.8 percent from last October, while outbound loaded container traffic across the Bay at the Port of Oakland rose by just 0.3 percent.