Issue 16-169: Exports

September 2, 2016

  • B.C. exports climbed 1.2% year-to-date to July.
  • Solid wood product exports jumped 17.6% over the first seven months of 2016.
  • Energy product exports fell 15.3% year-to-date, compared to 2015.

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports edged up 1.2% over the first seven months of 2016, compared to the same January to July period a year earlier. A 7.4% jump in exports to the United States drove much of the growth as shipments to most other major destinations fell. Mainland China (-4.6%), Japan (-6.9%), South Korea (‑1.8%), Taiwan (-10.8%), Australia (-6.8%) and Hong Kong (-8.3%) all imported fewer goods from British Columbia. However, there were increases in exports to India (+9.5%) and the European Union (+4.3%).

B.C. exports to India have been trending up 

By Commodity

There continues to be strong growth in exports of solid wood products, with a 17.6% rise year-to-date to July. The temporary period of free trade resulting from the expiry of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with the U.S. has contributed to this increase, as there has been strong growth in exports of most wood products, led by a 16.4% boost in softwood lumber shipments. The one exception is logs, which inched up only 0.7%.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, pulp and paper products did not fare as well, as shipments of those goods fell 11.7%. Newsprint, in particular, saw a substantial drop, with exports slumping 48.9%, but shipments of pulp (-9.5%) and other paper and paperboard (-11.8%) also declined.

There was a 6.7% boost in exports of metallic mineral products, as shipments of unwrought aluminum more than quadrupled (+338.2%) and exports of unwrought lead jumped 39.4%. The substantial rise in aluminum is the result of the Rio Tinto Alcan Aluminum smelter in Kitimat ramping up to full production after completion of a smelter expansion and modernization. With the exception of aluminum and lead, all other major metallic mineral product categories experienced a decline in exports.

B.C.’s exports of energy products fell 15.3% year-to-date to July, compared to the same period in 2015. Exports of natural gas (-27.5%), coal (-15.6%) and electricity (-7.7%) all declined, with lower prices playing a significant role. In fact, for electricity, prices were the entire reason for the decline, as the volume exported climbed 6.2%. Volumes of natural gas fell only10.2% and the tonnage of coal shipments dropped only 3.1%, revealing that lower prices also had an impact on the drop in value of shipments of those goods.

Shipments of agriculture and food products grew 3.7% year-to-date to July, while fish exports surged 12.8%. Plastics and articles of plastic also saw strong growth in shipments (+14.7%). However, there were declines in exports of chemicals and chemical products (-5.6%) and fabricated metal products (-3.8%), and the value of exports of machinery and equipment was relatively flat, edging up only 0.1%.

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.

There was a 9.1% surge in the value of B.C. origin exports in July. A 7.5% rise in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials was the largest contributor to the increase, but there was also strong growth in exports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts (+44.5%), metal and non-metallic mineral products (+23.4%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (+25.3%).

Shipments to the United States edged up only 0.7%, but exports to the rest of the world soared 20.5% compared to the previous month. For the U.S., strong growth in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products (+26.2%), forestry products and building and packaging materials (+5.7%) and industrial machinery, equipment and parts (+24.7%) helped offset a 33.4% drop in exports of energy products. In contrast, energy products were the main driver of growth in exports to the rest of the world, jumping 46.7% in July. There was also robust growth in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (+27.8%), forestry products and building and packaging materials (+10.1%) and industrial machinery, equipment and parts (+105.5%).

More information about British Columbia exports is available.

Did you know?

British Columbia is the source of about a fifth of Canadian exports to India. The value of B.C.’s shipments to India more than tripled from 2005 to 2015.