California export trade maintains momentum

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2014 - 11:31 am

Helped by aerospace and made-in-California products, the state’s export trade stayed on a roll in April, pushing the value of shipments so far this year well ahead of the pace seen in a record-setting 2013.

In-state businesses shipped merchandise valued at $14.09 billion in April, up 7.8 percent from $13.07 billion in April 2013, according to an analysis of Wednesday’s U.S. Commerce Department figures by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

State shipments for all of last year totaled $168.13 billion, an all-time record for California. Through the first four months this year, California export trade of $56.14 billion is running well ahead of the same period in 2013.

California’s year-over-year rate of export growth in April ran well ahead of the national rate of 2.8 percent, a trend that Beacon linked to the relatively high global demand for items manufactured or grown in the Golden State.

Shipments to foreign countries by the state’s aerospace industry continued to surge. Beacon noted that the state’s exports of manufactured goods jumped by 11 percent in April, increasing to $9.41 billion from $8.48 billion in April of last year.

“Our exports of aerospace products now exceed our exports of computer equipment,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser.

Meanwhile, California exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural produce and raw materials – in April totaled $1.81 billion, up 19 percent from $1.52 billion in April 2013. Re-exports, however, declined by nearly 7 percent to $2.87 billion, from about $3.07 billion in 2013.

On the import side, California took in $32.01 billion in goods in April, up 5.2 percent from $30.43 billion in April last year. Because some goods entering California ports and airports go to other states, exports are considered a more accurate measure of the state’s trade health.

Nationally, the U.S. trade deficit spiked nearly 7 percent from March to April to $47.2 billion, a two-year high.

The Commerce Department said exports of U.S. goods and services fell 0.2 percent month-to-month to about $193.4 billion. Imports rose 1.2 percent to an all-time high of $240.6 billion, reflecting record shipments of foreign-made cars, food and computers.

Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

Read more articles by Mark Glover

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