Issue 17-45: Exports

March 7, 2017

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports climbed 25.8% year-over-year from January 2016 to January 2017. There was strong growth to B.C.’s largest trading partner, the United States, at 21.5%. In addition, substantial increases to Japan (+61.4%), South Korea (+103.6%), the European Union (+71.9%) and Taiwan (+22.6%) more than offset declines to Mainland China (-18.2%), Hong Kong (-33.6%), Australia (-21.3%) and India (‑57.6%).

By Commodity

The value of energy exports soared 118.9% year-over-year from January 2016 to January 2017. The strongest growth was for shipments of coal (+164.0%) and natural gas (+102.1%), but exports of electricity (+17.7%) and other energy products (+69.4%) also exhibited robust growth. For coal, the entire increase was due to a rise in price, as the volume of coal shipped actually declined 5.4%. For gas and electricity there were large jumps in volume as well.

Higher prices have driven the value of B.C.'s coal exports way up

Exports of solid wood products rose 6.1% in January 2017, compared to the first month of 2016 [1]. The value of B.C.’s softwood lumber shipments climbed 7.2%, driving most of the increase; however, there were also increases to exports of selected value-added wood products (+17.8%), logs (+25.6%) and other panel products (i.e., excluding softwood plywood and veneer) (+0.6%). There was a decline in shipments of cedar shakes and shingles (-15.5%), softwood plywood and veneer (-0.7%) and other solid wood products (-23.3%).

Elsewhere in the forest sector, pulp and paper product exports edged up 0.5% as increased shipments of pulp (+1.5%) and paper and paperboard other than newsprint (+9.7%) offset decreased exports of newsprint (-40.8%) and other pulp and paper products (-3.9%).

B.C. shipments of metallic mineral products climbed 23.8% year-over-year from January 2016 to January 2017, despite a 7.6% drop in exports of copper ores and concentrates, which comprise over 40 percent of the commodity group. Unwrought aluminum (+99.5%), unwrought zinc (+44.7%), unwrought lead (+47.8%) and molybdenum ores and concentrates (+472.2%) all contributed to the overall increase in shipments.

There was a significant increase in exports of agriculture and food (+27.4%) and fish products (+18.8%) year-over-year from January 2016 to January 2017. Shipments of fabricated metal products also saw strong growth (+8.8%); however, there were declines in exports of machinery and equipment (-5.2%) [2] chemicals and chemical products (-9.7%), and plastics and articles of plastic (-22.0%).


[1] Note that due to revisions to the commodity codes, there may be a small data break in the selected value-added wood products category, which also affects the total of solid wood products. Growth rates may be slightly understated.

[2] Note that due to revisions to the commodity codes, there may be a data break in the machinery and equipment commodity grouping. Growth rates may be overstated.

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 fell 7.9% in January with significant declines in shipments of energy products (‑8.6%), metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-26.2%), consumer goods (-18.9%), motor vehicles and parts (-53.7%), and farm, fishing and intermediate food products (-15.4%).

Exports fell to both the United States (-4.8%) and the rest of the world (-11.2%). Consumer goods (-15.3%), energy products (-6.3%) and forestry products and building and packaging materials (-4.4%) were the main commodity groups pulling down exports to the U.S., while energy products (-10.1%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (‑26.9%) were the primary contributors to the drop in shipments to the rest of the world.