Issue 16-19: Exports
February 1, 2016
- B.C. exports edged up 0.3% in 2015, compared to 2014.
- Shipments of machinery and equipment climbed 17.6% in 2015.
- Energy product exports fell 25.4% in 2015, largely driven by lower prices.
There was very little growth in the value of B.C. origin exports in 2015, with only a 0.3% increase over the value recorded in 2014. Although shipments to the United States – B.C.’s largest destination for exports – increased by 3.8%, exports to several other key destinations fell, including Mainland China (-5.7%), Japan (-0.7%), South Korea (-11.7%), the European Union (- 6.0%) and Hong Kong (-5.3%). Taiwan (+4.2%) and India (+5.6%) both increased their imports of B.C. products, bucking the overall negative trend in shipments to Asian destinations. A particularly bright spot for B.C. exports was Mexico, which saw a 64.8% jump in shipments.
The value of energy product exports plunged 25.4%, which was the main reason for the overall constrained growth in exports. A drop in prices for key energy commodities drove much of the decline in value of energy product exports. This was particularly true for natural gas, exports of which fell 44.8% in value from 2014 to 2015, but were reduced only 5.1% in volume. Similarly, the value of coal shipments decreased 15.6%, but volumes shipped declined at a slower rate, albeit still a fairly large drop of 8.2%. Unlike coal and natural gas, exports of electricity increased in value, with growth of 28.0% in 2015; however, reduced prices kept that figure lower than it could have been, as the quantity of electricity transmitted across the border climbed 68.3%. The value of exports of other energy products fell 31.3%, with lower prices for crude oil likely playing a significant role in the decline.
Forest sector exports experienced relatively strong growth in 2015. Shipments of solid wood products climbed 4.7%, compared to a year earlier and pulp and paper product exports grew 2.3%. Although exports of softwood lumber had modest growth of 2.5% and shipments of logs fell 15.2%, most other major wood products experienced double-digit growth in exports. Selected value-added wood products (+32.7%), softwood plywood and veneer (+36.0%), other panel products (+18.7%) and cedar shakes and shingles (+23.2%) all saw robust export growth.
With respect to pulp and paper product shipments, most of the growth was due to a 5.7% boost in exports of pulp. Shipments of newsprint fell 22.8%, likely a reflection of falling demand as newspapers move toward more of an online presence. Other paper and paperboard products also saw a drop in shipments (-6.2%), but other pulp and paper product exports (e.g., cardboard boxes, paper towels, etc.) grew 28.7%.
B.C.’s exports of metallic mineral products dropped 2.9% in 2015, despite a 2.5% rise in shipments of copper ores and concentrates, which comprise about two-thirds of B.C.’s total metallic mineral product shipments. Exports of unwrought zinc (+20.2%) and unwrought lead (+5.7%) also increased, but double-digit declines for shipments of unwrought aluminum (-26.3%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (-76.3%), zinc ores and concentrates (-56.1%) and other metallic mineral products (-36.0%) drove down overall metallic mineral product exports.
There were large increases in exports of agriculture and food products (+20.6%) and fish (+14.9%) in 2015. In the manufacturing sector, machinery and equipment (+17.6%), chemicals and chemical products (+12.7%) and plastics and articles of plastic (+11.9%) all had robust growth in shipments.
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 3.0% in December, driven down by substantial declines in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-27.4%), energy products (-11.7%) and industrial machinery, equipment and parts (-9.9%). However, there was strong growth in exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products (+38.5%).
Shipments fell to both the United States (-3.4%) and the rest of the world (-2.5%) in December. For the U.S., most of the drop was due to a 19.9% slump in exports of energy products and a 7.9% decline in shipments of metal and non-metal mineral products. Energy products (-5.7%) also played a role in the reduction in exports to the rest of the world, but a 27.5% decrease in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals was the main driver of the overall decline. Substantial growth in exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products (+111.2%) to the rest of the world helped offset some of the drops for other commodities, as did a 5.5% rise in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials.
More information about British Columbia exports is available.
Did you know?
Over $1 billion was collected in duties from goods imported into Canada through B.C. customs ports in 2015, up from just over $863 million in 2014.