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California Export Growth Outpaces Nation in November 2011

January 13, 2012 - LOS ANGLES, CALIFORNIA - California’s exporters turned in another strong performance in November, marking the 25th consecutive month in which the state’s merchandise export trade increased on a year-over-year basis.

The value of goods shipped abroad by California businesses in November reached $14.07 billion, a nominal gain of 12.7% over the $12.49 billion reported in November 2010, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics of foreign trade data released yesterday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Total U.S. merchandise exports were up 12.1% over the same period.

California’s exports of manufactured goods edged up 9.6% to $8.57 billion, while non-manufactured exports (chiefly raw materials and agricultural products) were up 16.3% to $2.14 billion. Re-exports, meanwhile, rose by 18.7% to $3.36 billion.

“Even in inflation-adjusted terms, 2011 will easily turn out to be the best year ever for California’s export trade,” says Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

Through November, the state's merchandise export trade for 2011 amounts to $145.81 billion. The best previous year was 2008, when exports through the first 11 months totaled $141.26 billion (in 2011 dollars).

Overall, the California economy is showing strong signs of turning the economic corner. Beacon Economics' Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg says job growth, consumer spending, non-residential construction and industrial vacancies have all showed signs of strong improvement in recent months. "Much of the momentum behind California's economy can be traced back to the state's resurgent export sectors," Thornberg says.

While Beacon Economics expects the state's export trade to continue expanding in 2012, it warns that the pace of growth will likely slow.

“The near-term outlook has some risks,” O’Connell says. “Europe is flirting with recession, and the dollar has gained ten percent in value since August as a result, reducing a portion of the newfound competitiveness of U.S. products.”

“Fortunately, our two biggest foreign markets, Mexico and Canada, remain on more solid economic footing,” he says.