Issue 16-02: Exports

January 6, 2016

  • B.C. exports were virtually unchanged from 2014, inching up only 0.1% year-to-date to November.
  • Agriculture and food exports climbed 19.4% in the first 11 months of 2015.
  • Energy product exports dropped 24.4% year-to-date to November.

By Destination

Year-to-date to November 2015, the value of B.C. origin exports remained almost unchanged from the same 11-month period in 2014, edging up only 0.1%. Fairly robust growth of 4.5% in shipments to the United States — B.C.’s largest export partner — helped offset significant declines in exports to other destinations, including Mainland China (‑6.4%), Japan (-3.0%), South Korea (-13.7%), the European Union (-6.8%), Australia (-3.6%) and Hong Kong (-14.1%). There was also strong growth in shipments to India (+7.0%), Taiwan (+5.3%) and particularly Mexico (+73.4%).

B.C. exports to the U.S. have risen, even as shipments to the rest of the world have been trending down

By Commodity

The value of B.C.’s solid wood exports increased 3.8% in the first 11 months of 2015, compared to the same period a year earlier. Softwood lumber shipments climbed 2.0% and there was extremely robust growth in exports of selected value-added wood products (+32.1%), softwood plywood and veneer (+36.2%), other panel products (+16.9%) and cedar shakes and shingles (+22.1%). Only unprocessed logs bucked the trend, with shipments declining 19.0%. Other solid wood product exports grew 2.6%.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, pulp and paper product shipments increased 2.1%, mainly on the strength of a 5.1% jump in pulp exports, as shipments of newsprint (-19.8%) and other paper and paperboard (-6.3%) fell, although exports of other pulp and paper products also experienced growth, climbing 31.6%.

There was a substantial 24.4% slump in exports of energy products year-to-date to November. With the exception of electricity exports, which rose 29.4%, all other energy product groups saw a decline in the value of shipments. Exports of coal (-16.3%), natural gas (-41.3%) and other energy products (-30.9%) all experienced double-digit declines in value. In the case of natural gas, lower prices for the product was the reason for the drop in value, as the quantity shipped actually climbed 1.7%.

Exports of agriculture and food products jumped 19.4% year-to-date to November. There was double-digit growth in shipments of fruits and nuts (+35.5%), vegetables (+25.4%), bread, pastry, cereals, etc. (+22.4%) and “other” agriculture and food products (+21.2%). Only vegetable oils (-0.7%) and meat and prepared meat products (-7.5%) saw a decline in shipments. Fish product exports increased 15.3%.

There was a 3.5% drop in shipments of metallic mineral products over the first 11 months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. A 1.9% increase in shipments of copper ores and concentrates, which comprises two-thirds of the value of exports from this commodity group, along with a 24.3% increase in exports of unwrought zinc and a 4.1% boost in shipments of unwrought lead, were not enough to offset declines in other metallic mineral product shipments. There have been substantial reductions in exports of molybdenum ores and concentrates (-75.9%), zinc ores and concentrates (-51.3%), unwrought aluminum (-36.3%) and other metallic mineral products (-33.5%).

Seasonally Adjusted Exports

Seasonal adjustment provides a means of making month-to-month comparisons by removing the periodic seasonal fluctuations that occur. Variations from normal seasonal patterns are revealed in the seasonally adjusted series.

The value of B.C.’s commodity exports jumped 11.9% (seasonally adjusted) in November, driven mainly by an almost doubling (+94.4%) of shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals, as well as strong growth in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (+7.8%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (+21.8%).

Shipments to the United States rose 3.7%, while exports to the rest of the world climbed 22.2%. Strong growth in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (+7.4%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (+22.7%) helped propel the growth in shipments to the U.S., although a 16.9% slump in exports of energy products dampened the overall increase. Exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals to the rest of the world virtually doubled (+99.6%), driving much of the growth in shipments to destinations other than the United States.