Business & Real Estate

California’s walnuts, almonds keep March exports better than rest of U.S.

Led by almonds and walnuts, California exports slipped slightly in March but managed to do better than Texas, its primary shipping rival, and the rest of the nation.

California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $14.9 billion in March, down about 3 percent from $15.4 billion in March 2014, according to an analysis of the latest U.S. Commerce Department figures by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with Bay Area and Los Angeles offices.

By comparison, Beacon noted, exports from Texas plunged by 12.1 percent and overall U.S. exports saw a 6.1 percent decline year over year.

“Given that February saw a nearly 9 percent falloff in California’s merchandise exports, an optimist could interpret March’s much smaller decline as a rebound in trade,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser.

Beacon said California’s exports of manufactured goods fell nearly 6 percent in the March-to-March period, from about $10.3 billion to $9.7 billion. But exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural produce and raw materials – rose 4.4 percent, from $1.93 billion in March 2014 to $2.02 billion in March this year. O’Connell said shipments of California almonds and walnuts were particularly strong.

On the import side, California took in $35.19 billion in March, up from $30.3 billion in March 2014. Since goods entering California go to other states, exports are considered a more accurate measure of the state’s trade health.

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