Business & Real Estate

California exports continued to roll in June

Yet another strong monthly showing in June has California’s export trade sector running well ahead of a record-setting 2013.

In-state businesses shipped merchandise valued at $15.77 billion in June, up 3.5 percent from $15.23 billion in June 2013, according to an analysis of Wednesday’s U.S. Commerce Department figures by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with Bay Area and Los Angeles offices.

California exports totaled $14.23 billion in May this year.

Through the first six months of 2014, exports are up 6.3 percent over 2013. State shipments for all of last year totaled $168.13 billion, a record for California.

“Even with the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar and the slackening pace of economic growth being reported in several key overseas markets, California’s merchandise export trade has not faltered,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser. Historically, a strong dollar makes U.S. products more expensive overseas, making it harder for American firms to compete in foreign markets.

Exports of made-in-California manufactured goods continued to flourish in June. Shipments totaled $9.96 billion, up 1.5 percent from $9.81 billion in June last year. Through the first half of 2014, California has seen robust shipments of aerospace products and computer equipment.

Meanwhile, state exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural produce and raw materials – in June totaled $1.95 billion, up nearly 19 percent from $1.64 billion in June 2013. Re-exports totaled $3.86 billion, up almost 2 percent from nearly $3.8 billion in the year-ago period.

On the import side, California took in $34.12 billion in goods in June, up 6.5 percent from $32.03 billion in June 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. While acknowledging that imports are a less-than-stellar indicator, O’Connell said “these numbers are consistent with other evidence of a steadily growing California economy.”

Nationally, the Commerce Department said the U.S. trade deficit fell 7 percent from May to June to $41.5 billion, its lowest level since January.

Exports of goods and services rose 0.1 percent to a record high of $195.9 billion. Imports fell 1.2 percent, the most in a year, to $237.4 billion. Federal officials cited decreased imports of petroleum, motor vehicles and cellphones.