California exports rallied strongly in August, posting the first year-over-year monthly gain since April 2015.
California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $14.12 billion in August, a robust 6.7 percent increase from $13.24 billion in August 2015, according to Wednesday’s report by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Beacon breaks out California numbers from U.S. Commerce Department data.
“We saw strong indications a few days ago that the August export figures released today would be up by a healthy margin,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser. “While the state’s major seaports do the heavy lifting, virtually half of the California’s merchandise export trade (by value) moves by air, and both (Los Angeles International) and (San Francisco International) had reported surges in outbound air cargo shipments.”
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By comparison, U.S. exports of goods declined 0.2 percent in the year-over-year period, and California business rival Texas saw shipments tumble 5.7 percent.
Beacon said Golden State businesses saw gains in all major segments.
The state’s August exports of manufactured goods rose 2.9 percent, to $8.91 billion from $8.66 billion a year earlier. Exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural products and raw materials – increased more than 2.5 percent to $1.52 billion from $1.48 billion in August 2015; re-exports spiked more than 19 percent to $3.69 billion, up from about $3.1 billion.
Beacon said Golden State exports of computer/electronic products and various manufactured commodities have been on the rise in recent weeks.
Even with the August gains, however, California’s $106.3 billion in merchandise exports through eight months of 2016 still trails the $110.85 billion amassed in the first two-thirds of 2015.
On the import side, California took in $36.34 billion in goods in August, up 1.4 percent from $35.84 billion in August last year.
Some goods entering California go to other states, so exports are considered a more accurate measure of the state’s trade health.