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Doldrums Persist for California Exporters

July’s shipments were down 23.5% from last year

Sacramento, September 10, 2009 – If, as is increasingly being reported, a global economic recovery is underway, it was not especially evident in California's latest international trade figures.

The Golden State’s $9.77 billion in merchandise exports in July were down 2.1 percent from June and were 23.5 percent below the $12.77 billion in goods the state shipped abroad in July of 2008, according to an analysis compiled by the University of California Center Sacramento based on data released this morning by the U.S. Commerce Department.

California’s manufactured exports in July fell by 25.2 percent from last July’s level, while agricultural goods and other non-manufactured exports shrunk 29.0 percent. Re-exports of goods previously imported into the state were off by 13.2 percent.

“Adjusting for inflation, this was the lowest export total for the month of July California has recorded since 2003,” noted Jock O’Connell, the UC Center’s international trade and economics adviser.

July was also the ninth consecutive month in which the state posted export totals substantially lower than those reported in the same month a year earlier.

Thus far in 2009, California has exported $66.12 billion in goods, down 23.1 percent compared to the first seven months of 2008, when the state’s merchandise exports totaled $85.99 billion.

“There is perhaps some satisfaction to be gained in knowing that California’s merchandise exports so far this year have not dropped nearly as much as have overall U.S. exports, which are down 26.0 percent down through July,” O’Connell remarked.

Things were no better on the import side of the state's trade ledger. The UC Center Sacramento analysis revealed that $29.1 billion in foreign goods entered the U.S. through California in July, a drop of 29.0 percent from the $41.0 billion reported in the same month last year. [Note: There are no data sources measuring the value or volume of imports by state of final destination.]

If there was a positive note in the July figures for California's exporters, it was that the worst may be behind them.

"With apologies to T. S. Eliot, April does seem to have been the cruelest month for California exports," O'Connell observed. "Although we still have a long way to go, our export trade has been moving in a healthier direction since then."


For more information, contact:

Jock O'Connell

International Trade & Economics Advisor

University of California Center Sacramento

1130 K Street, LL22

Sacramento, California 95814

Tel: 916.445.5161

Cell: 916.716.2251 (Best bet on September 10)

Fax: 916.445.5536

Email: jockoconnell@gmail.com

Website: www.jockoconnell.com