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Strong Foreign Demand Keeps California Exports Growing

State's Overseas Shipments Up Over 20% Since Same Time Last Year

September 9, 2010—SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA—While much of California's economy continued to languish this summer, the state's exporters posted another strong performance in July, with the value of overseas shipments up by 21.4 percent over the same month last year.

The $11.86 billion in goods shipped abroad this July exceeded the $9.77 billion the state's exporters sent to foreign markets in July 2009, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of international trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

July marked the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year increases in California’s export trade, according to Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

“California's economy would obviously be in even worse shape were it not for strong foreign demand for goods produced by our manufacturers and farmers," he said.

The state’s exports of manufactured products in July 2010 were up by 20.1% from last July, while shipments of agricultural goods and other non-manufactured products increased by 10.6%. Meanwhile, re-exports of items previously imported into the state rose by 32.1%.

California accounted for 11.4% of all U.S. merchandise exports in July.

As impressive as recent export growth may appear, O'Connell cautioned that the state's export totals are still not up to pre-recession levels.

< In inflation-adjusted terms, California’s export trade in July 2008 was $12.65 billion, some 6.7% higher than the value of exports this July.

Looking ahead, O’Connell expressed concern that the pace of growth in California exports will diminish through the remainder of this year.

“Madam Olga’s crystal ball may be full of good cheer, but almost no one else is forecasting brisk growth in world trade this fall,” O’Connell cautioned. “Instead, governments have been joining businesses and consumers on the economic sidelines. As spending falters and demand shrinks, so too will trade.”

"Unfortunately, there's more than ample reason to be cautiously pessimistic about the next few months," he said.

On the import side of the ledger, the U.S. Commerce Department reports that California's merchandise import trade totaled $28.5 billion in July, an increase of 23.8% over last July. California accounted for 17.4% of all U.S. merchandise imports in July.

Compiled by Jock O'Connell, International Trade Adviser to Beacon Economics

For more details on California's foreign trade, go to: