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California Exporters: Now For Some Good Economic News

August 11, 2011—LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—While the U.S. economy may be languishing in inertia, California exporters racked up their 20th consecutive month of vigorous growth in June.

Export shipments by California companies in June were valued at $13.83 billion, a gain of 13.0% over the $12.25 billion reported in the same month last year, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

“Adjusting for inflation, California’s export trade has firmly returned to its pre-recession peaks,” says Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

“More importantly, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, California’s export trade remained on an upward trajectory through the second quarter of 2011, despite the economic and financial tribulations several of our leading trading partners have been enduring,” O’Connell says.

The importance of this favorable news cannot be under-estimated. Gearing up to meet export demand is one of the few incentives U.S. corporations have for investing in the domestic economy. “The primary source of growth for the U.S. over the past year has been through the export sector,” says Beacon Economics’ Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg. “Export trade is key in rebalancing the domestic economy given the massive trade deficit that opened in the middle part of the last decade."

Beacon Economics expects continued growth in California’s export trade in the second half of the year, when the pace of trade historically picks up.

“The upside of a battered dollar is that California products, from farm produce to pharmaceuticals, are at bargain prices in the world market,” O’Connell says. “The recent drop in oil prices doesn't hurt."

The picture was less rosy on the import side of the ledger. The number of loaded inbound shipping containers arriving at the state's seaports in June was down by 5.5% from the same month last year, while import tonnage through California's airports declined by 11.7%.