California export trade stays on a roll in May

07/03/2014 5:37 PM

07/04/2014 12:01 AM

California export trade continued to sizzle in May, adding nearly $1 billion to year-ago totals and maintaining a pace well ahead of a record-setting 2013.

In-state businesses shipped merchandise valued at $14.23 billion in May, up 7.4 percent from $13.25 billion in May 2013, according to an analysis of Thursday’s U.S. Commerce Department figures by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with Bay Area and Los Angeles offices.

Through the first five months of this year, exports are up 7.1 percent over 2013. State shipments for all of last year totaled $168.13 billion, a record for California.

“These latest numbers unambiguously underscore the ability of California’s manufacturers and farmers to compete successfully in global markets,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser.

California saw year-over-year improvements in all three key export segments – manufacturing, non-manufacturing and re-exports – in May.

Manufactured goods totaled $9.2 billion, up 7.5 percent from $8.56 billion in May last year. O’Connell said shipments by the state’s aerospace industry sector continued to surge. Exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural produce and raw materials – in May totaled $1.91 billion, up more than 7 percent from $1.78 billion a year ago. Re-exports grew by more than 7 percent year-over-year, from $2.91 billion to $3.12 billion.

Beacon said it expects California’s export trade to continue growing at a healthy pace over the next several months.

On the import side, California took in $33.75 billion in goods in May, up 4.5 percent from $32.29 billion in May 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.

Nationally, the Commerce Department said the U.S. trade deficit fell 5.6 percent from April to May, to $44.4 billion, as exports reached an all-time high. Exports of goods and services rose 1 percent month-to-month to $195.5 billion. Imports fell 0.3 percent to nearly $240 billion.

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