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June Marked 8th Consecutive Month of Increases in California Exports

But Slowing May Be Around the Corner as Governments Worldwide Belt-Tighten

August 11, 2010—SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA—California's merchandise export trade continued its steady recovery in June with shipments up by 22.8% over last June.

The $12.25 billion in goods shipped abroad this June exceeded the $9.98 billion the state's exporters sent to foreign markets in June 2009, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of international trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

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

For the first half of 2010, California's merchandise exports totaled $68.46 billion, up by 21.5% over the $56.35 billion in exports reported during the first six months of last year.

"This is good news," O'Connell said. "We continue to dig ourselves out of a deep trough. A year ago now, we were plumbing the depths of a global recession in international trade. Today, while we have not returned to 2008 levels, our exports are just about even with where they were in 2007."

In inflation-adjusted terms, California's export trade in June 2008 was valued at $13.3 billion, some 8.3% higher than the value of exports in June of this year, according to Beacon Economics' calculations.

The state's exports of manufactured products in June 2010 were up by 21.3% over last June, while shipments of agricultural goods and other non-manufactured products increased by 21.4%. Re-exports of items previously imported into the state rose by 28.3%.

California accounted for 11.5% of all U.S. merchandise exports in June.

Looking ahead, O'Connell expressed concern that the rate of growth in California's exports will fall off during the second half of this year. That slowing trend may have already begun, he noted. On a seasonally adjusted basis, California's exports in June actually declined relative to the previous month.

"Somewhere there may be a mystic soothsayer forecasting a robust expansion in world trade, but no one else is," O'Connell remarked. "Instead, there is a general sense that the air is about to go out of the balloon as governments worldwide implement harsh deficit-reduction policies even though private sector demand remains fairly tepid."

On the import side of the ledger, the U.S. Commerce Department reports that California's merchandise import trade totaled $29.9 billion in June, an increase of 29.9% over last June ($23.0 billion). California accounted for 17.7% of all U.S. merchandise imports in June.

California's nominal international trade deficit in June amounted to $17.7 billion.