Calif. May trade robust, but lags Æ08 levels
California’s merchandise export trade grew 25.7 percent by value in May, but still fell well shy of export levels recorded two years ago, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of international trade data released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The $11.9 billion in goods shipped abroad this May easily exceeded the $9.5 billion the state’s exporters sent to foreign markets in May 2009, and it marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year increases in California’s export trade, according to Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade advisor.
“While we should definitely celebrate a $2.4 billion increase in exports over last May, we still have a ways to go before reaching the levels of trade seen before the onset of the global economic and financial crisis,” he said.
In inflation-adjusted terms, California’s export trade in May 2010 was 7.3 percent below the value of exports reported in May 2008, he added.
California’s exports of manufactured products in May 2010 were up by 25.5 percent from last May, while shipments of agricultural goods and other non-manufactured products increased 16.5 percent. Re-exports of previously imported items jumped 32.2 percent, Beacon said.
By port, export volume grew 9.4 percent through Long Beach and Los Angeles (taken together) and by 4.5 percent through Oakland. Air freight export tonnage rose 20 percent at Los Angeles International Airport and by 48.7 percent at San Francisco International (with those two accounting for roughly half of California's air freight exports by value).
“That huge jump in exports through SFO was primarily indicative of a sharp increase in shipments of high-value electronics products by Silicon Valley firms,” O’Connell said.
California accounted for 11.3 percent of all U.S. merchandise exports in May.
Meanwhile, imports into California’s rose 29.9 percent, to $26.8 billion, in May, with California accounting for 17.2 percent of all U.S. merchandise imports during the month.
Despite all the increases, the outlook for sustained strong growth in trade is less encouraging now than it had been earlier in the year, O’Connell said.
'The deficit hawks have been gaining the upper-hand in charting fiscal policy in almost every major world economy,” he said. “As a result, no one is forecasting robust economic growth. Instead, there is a general sense that the tide is going out as we move into a period of slackening demand with the timidity of the private sector now being matched by the austerity of governments worldwide.” ' Eric Johnson