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No Good News from the Trade Front: California’s Exports Plunged in April.

Sacramento, June 10, 2009 - The global financial and economic crisis continued to throttle California’s export trade in April as the value of the state’s merchandise exports plummeted by more than a quarter from export totals reported in same month last year.

Golden State exports in April amounted to $9.25 billion, 25.5 percent below the $12.42 billion in goods the state shipped abroad in April 2008, according to figures compiled by the University of California Center Sacramento based on data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

April marked the sixth consecutive month of declining exports for California. It was also the worst.

"Far from revealing any evidence of an impending economic recovery, California’s export trade nose-dived in April," observed Jock O'Connell, the UC Center's international trade and economics adviser.

The state's export trade, which had begun to deteriorate last November, had been down an average of about twenty percent during the first quarter of 2009.

“In April, we plumbed new depths,” O'Connell remarked. "These are the lowest California export numbers for the month of April since 2005."

California’s manufactured exports dropped by 27.6 percent in April, while agricultural goods and other non-manufactured exports shrunk by 27.9 percent. Re-exports of goods previously imported into the state were off by 15.2%.

The decline in exports was apparent at California's international trade gateways. The number of outbound loaded containers in April was off by 18.3 percent from April 2008 at neighboring Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, while the Port of Oakland saw a more modest 4.1 percent drop.

Likewise for air freight, international tonnage was off 22.5 percent at Los Angeles International Airport while San Francisco International Airport reported a 34.4 percent decline.

The plight of the state's exporters was shared by importers. The UC Center Sacramento analysis showed that the value of foreign goods entering the United States through California dropped by 28.5 percent in April.