Business & Real Estate

Sacramento area had record exports in 2015

Despite a relatively sluggish 2015 for California exports, the greater Sacramento metropolitan area set a record for goods shipped abroad in 2015, according to a new report by the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration.

The ITA said the Sacamento-Roseville-Arden Arcade area last year shipped goods valued at a record $8.1 billion, up $957 million, or 13.4 percent, from 2014. Sacramento County accounted for the largest share of shipments, $6.1 billion.

The ITA said Placer County accounted for $1.2 billion in exports last year, followed by Yolo County ($703 million) and El Dorado County ($100 million).

Among exporters in U.S. metropolitan areas, the Sacramento area ranked 39th in 2015, the ITA said. The report noted that regional exports of goods has surged 131 percent since 2009.

Agricultural products and processed foods accounted for the bulk of Sacramento-area exports last year. Canada was by far the Sacramento area’s biggest export market, taking in $2.62 billion in goods last year.

“Exports continue to be a source of growth for the Sacramento economy. Sacramento is one of 63 metropolitan areas across our nation that set a record for goods exports last year,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said.

In 2015, the value of California merchandise exports totaled $165.37 billion, down 5 percent from the record of $174.13 billion amassed in 2014, according to Beacon Economics, the information and consulting firm that breaks out Golden State export totals from federal statistics. Not accounting for inflation, 2015 marked the first annual statewide decline since 2009.

For more than a year, key trading partners of California have struggled with sluggish economic conditions, and a softening in the prices California exporters have been able to obtain for their products has hurt, as well. Also in the mix is a relatively strong U.S. dollar, which makes American goods more expensive to purchase.

Through the first seven months of 2016, California’s merchandise export trade of $92.18 billion is lagging last year’s total over the same period by 5.6 percent. Beacon also noted last week that California exports have not registered a year-over-year improvement since April 2015.

The sprawling Houston metropolitan area in Texas was the nation’s top exporter in 2015, according to the ITA, with shipments of goods valued at $97.1 billion. The Los Angeles-Long Beach portal led California and was fourth nationally in 2015, exporting goods valued at $61.8 billion.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover