Issue 17-73: Exports

July 6, 2017

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports jumped 23.7% over the first five months of 2017, compared to the same period a year earlier. There were significant increases to most of B.C.’s major trading partners, including robust growth of 15.9% to B.C.’s largest export partner, the United States. Shipments to the European Union soared 60.3%, partially driven by a 152.6% spike in exports to Germany. Although still fairly modest, exports to Mexico more than doubled (+147.4%). There was strong growth in exports to Mainland China (+6.3%), Japan (+47.0%), South Korea (+69.8%) and Taiwan (+62.9%), with growth of 29.1% to the Pacific Rim overall.

By Commodity

The value of B.C.’s energy product exports has more than doubled (+134.3%) year-to-date to May, compared to the first five months of 2016. Coal led the way with a 167.8% jump in value of shipments, followed by natural gas, exports of which also more than doubled (+154.3%).

Exports of electricity (+23.9%) and other energy products (+38.9%) also experienced robust growth. Most of the increase was due to higher commodity prices. In fact, for coal, quantities shipped actually fell 1.6% and for electricity, the quantity transmitted south of the border fell 9.8%. There was a large increase in volumes of natural gas shipped (+73.9%), but still well below the increase in value received for those shipments.

B.C. exports of solid wood products climbed 3.7% year-to-date to May. The growth was constrained to increased shipments of softwood lumber (+5.0%) and logs (+14.0%), as all other major wood products experienced a decline in exports.

Shipments of pulp and paper products rose 6.8% over the first five months of 2017, compared to the same period a year earlier, with all major product groups experiencing an increase. Pulp (+7.2%), newsprint (+2.4%), paper and paperboard (+2.5%) and other pulp and paper products (+17.4%) all saw a rise in exports.

There was a 10.0% boost in exports of metallic mineral products year-to-date to May, despite a 10.9% dip in shipments of copper ores and concentrates, which comprise around half of B.C.’s metallic mineral product shipments. Particularly robust growth in exports of unwrought aluminum (+48.7%) and unwrought zinc (39.6%) and a resurgence in shipments of molybdenum ores and concentrates (+435.2%) was responsible for much of the overall increase.

Exports of agriculture and food products continued to improve over last year, with year-to-date growth of 24.2%. There was a more modest increase in shipments of fish products, at 0.7%.

Exports of machinery and equipment climbed 1.8% year-to-date and there was also a jump in shipments of fabricated metal products (+8.0%). However, there was a drop in exports of both chemicals and chemical products (-7.6%) and plastics and articles of plastic (-10.6%).

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 6.0% in May, due mainly to significant declines in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials (-6.8%), energy products (-6.7%), metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-27.1%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (-15.1%).

Exports fell both to the United States (-9.0%) and the rest of the world (-2.7%). The drop in shipments to the U.S. was driven largely by a 20.7% slump in exports of energy products and a 14.2% drop in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials. The decline in exports to the rest of the world was precipitated mainly by a 31.3% reduction in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals and a 22.4% fall in exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products.

Visit the exports and imports page on the BC Stats website.