Issue 16-189: Exports

October 5 , 2016

  • B.C. exports inched up 0.9% year-to-date to August.
  • Solid wood exports rose 17.1% in the first eight months of 2016.
  • Energy product exports fell 17.2% in value year-to-date to August.

By Destination

Year-to-date to August, the value of B.C.’s commodity exports has edged up 0.9% compared to the same eight-month period in 2015. A 5.8% increase in shipments to the United States was responsible for most of the rise, although there were also more goods shipped to South Korea (+1.9%), the European Union (+4.7%) and India (+6.9%). Growth was tempered by a fall in exports to most other major destinations, including B.C.’s second-largest trading partner, Mainland China (-6.1%). There were also significant declines in shipments to Taiwan (-14.3%), Japan (‑3.8%), Australia (-5.2%) and Hong Kong (-6.9%).

By Commodity

Exports of solid wood products continue to record year-to-date growth compared to the same period a year earlier. Up to August, shipments of wood products have climbed 17.1% with double-digit increases for all major wood categories except logs, which saw shipments rise only 2.7%.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, exports of pulp and paper products fell 11.9% year-to-date to August. Shipments of newsprint plunged 46.5%, while other paper and paperboard (-11.5%) and pulp (-10.3%) also saw a significant drop in exports. However, there was growth in shipments of other pulp and paper products (+15.5%).

There was a 17.2% decrease in the value of B.C.’s exports of energy products over the first eight months of 2016, compared to the January to August period in 2015. Shipments of natural gas slumped 38.1%, while exports of coal (‑11.2%), electricity (-1.5%) and other energy products (-12.3%) also declined. For coal and electricity, lower prices were the primary reason for the reduction in value of exports. The volume of coal shipped fell only 0.7%, while the quantity of electricity exported actually jumped 11.4%.

The value of B.C.'s exports of natural gas has been trending down 

B.C.’s exports of metallic mineral products climbed 7.2% in the January to August period of 2016, compared to the first eight months of 2015. A 374.6% jump in shipments of unwrought aluminum was responsible for most of the increase, although exports of unwrought lead also experienced a substantial rise (+32.0%). All other major metallic mineral product categories saw a drop in exports. The growth in aluminum exports is the result of the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter in Kitimat ramping up to full production after having recently been upgraded.

Year-to-date to August, there was a 5.0% rise in exports of agriculture and food products and an 11.1% boost in shipments of fish. Exports of plastics and articles of plastic jumped 12.8%, while shipments of machinery and equipment edged up 0.5%. Exports of chemicals and chemical products (-5.3%) and fabricated metal products (-4.0%) experienced significant declines.

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 2.2% dip in the value of B.C.’s commodity exports in August with shipments to both the United States (‑1.3%) and the rest of the world (-3.1%) falling. A 20.7% slump in exports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts, as well as a 12.6% drop in shipments of farm, fishing and intermediate food products were the main drivers of the overall decrease. However, exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products (-4.6%) and energy products (‑2.3%) also saw significant declines. Aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts bucked the trend with shipments more than doubling in August (+130.6%) and there was also growth in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (+1.5%).

For shipments to the U.S., the largest declines were for farm, fishing and intermediate food products (-12.3%), industrial machinery, equipment and parts (-10.0%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (-6.2%). However, there was strong growth in exports of energy products (+9.3%). In contrast, shipments of energy products to the rest of the world fell 7.9%. There was also a substantial drop in exports of industrial machinery, equipment and parts to the rest of the world (-41.0%), but shipments of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts soared 436.8%.

More information about British Columbia exports is available.

Did you know?

Approximately 13% of B.C.’s commodity exports consist of machinery and equipment. In 2015, B.C. exported $4.8 billion worth of machinery and equipment and is on pace to do the same in 2016.