Business & Real Estate

September setback: California exports fall after a robust August

Jeff Stiles, superintendent of SSA Marine, inspects bags of rice to be loaded aboard a ship at the Port of Sacramento in West Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. The state’s export of agricultural products and raw materials edged up 1.8 percent in September 2016.
Jeff Stiles, superintendent of SSA Marine, inspects bags of rice to be loaded aboard a ship at the Port of Sacramento in West Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. The state’s export of agricultural products and raw materials edged up 1.8 percent in September 2016. The Associated Press

California exports sagged in September, deflating momentum and optimism prompted by a strong rally in Golden State shipments abroad in August.

California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $13.65 billion in September, down nearly 3.5 percent from $14.13 billion in September 2015, according to Friday’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.

September was a setback from August, when California exports were valued at $14.12 billion, a robust 6.7 percent increase from $13.24 billion in August 2015. That also represented the first year-over-year monthly gain since April 2015.

California’s exports of manufactured goods in September this year dropped by 10.3 percent, to $8.18 billion from $9.12 billion one year earlier. Exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural products and raw materials – edged up 1.8 percent, to $1.68 billion from $1.65 billion. Re-exports jumped 12.8 percent, to $3.79 billion from $3.36 billion.

“September saw a particularly sharp fall-off in overseas shipments of aerospace equipment and chemicals, both of which normally rank among the state’s leading exports,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser.

In its report and analysis, however, Beacon added that it believes that “September’s year-over-year drop in both nominal and seasonally-adjusted terms was an anomaly and that the state’s export trade has already resumed a growth trajectory.”

On the import side, California took in $34.76 billion in goods in September, down 2.4 percent from $35.61 billion in the same month last year.

Some goods entering California go to other states, so exports are considered a more accurate measure of the state’s trade health.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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