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Gains Continue for California Exporters Despite Japan Disaster

May 11, 2011—SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA—California exporters recorded their 17th consecutive month of healthy year-over-year gains in March with shipments totaling $13.95 billion, a gain of 12.8% over the $12.37 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.

Manufactured exports rose by 12.8%, while non-manufactured exports (chiefly raw materials and agricultural products) were up by 10.9%. Re-exports meanwhile increased by 17.9%.

“On an inflation-adjusted basis, California’s export trade hit a new high for the month of March, even exceeding the level of exports recorded at the height of the boom a decade ago,” observed Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

Remarkably, these latest gains occurred despite the disruption to normal trading patterns brought on by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, California's fourth largest export market, O’Connell noted.

The Beacon Economics analysis expects continued growth in California’s export trade.

The chief factors aiding Golden State exporters right now is growth in the state's target markets and the fact that the dollar has fallen to around its lowest value in decades.

"The importance of these steady gains by exporters to the overall recovery of the U.S. economy shouldn't be underestimated," said Christopher Thornberg, Beacon Economics' Founding Partner. "Rebalancing our external accounts is a critical component of healing the economy in the aftermath of the massive financial bubble that hit in the middle part of the last decade."

An apparent reprieve from steadily rising oil prices should also help exporters by keeping transportation costs in check at least through this summer, O'Connell added.

See Beacon Economics' website for further information: