Issue 16-209: Exports

November 4, 2016

  • B.C. exports rose 2.7% over the first three quarters of 2016.
  • Exports of solid wood products from B.C. jumped 19.0% year-to-date to September.
  • Energy product exports fell 7.7% over the first nine months of 2016.

By Destination

Year-to-date to September, the value of B.C.’s exports climbed 2.7% compared to the same nine-month period in 2015. An 8.1% jump in shipments to the U.S. drove much of the increase, as shipments to most other major destinations fell. There were reductions in exports to Mainland China (-2.5%), Japan (-4.7%), South Korea (-0.8%), Taiwan (-11.9%), Australia (-4.3%) and Hong Kong (-7.3%), while the European Union (+1.4%) and India (+2.1%) recorded modest increases.

B.C.'s exports to the EU have been trending down slightly, but if CETA is ratified, this could change 

By Commodity

Exports of solid wood products surged 19.0% over the first three quarters of 2016, compared to the same period a year earlier. There was strong growth across all wood categories as shipments of softwood lumber (+18.9%), logs (+8.1%), selected value added wood products (+18.7%), softwood plywood and veneer (+9.6%), other panel products (+31.7%), cedar shakes and shingles (+11.6%) and other wood products (+41.6%) all posted large increases.

However, the pulp and paper sector has not fared as well, with the value of exports slumping 10.8% over the first three quarters of 2016. Shipments of pulp (-9.2%), newsprint (-45.0%) and other paper and paperboard (-10.5%) all fell, although there was an increase in exports of other pulp and paper products (+14.2%).

There was also a decline in shipments of energy products year-to-date to September (-7.7%). Exports of natural gas (‑9.7%), coal (-7.5%), electricity (-4.5%) and other energy products (-6.6%) all dropped in value. Lower prices were the main driver of the decreases as the volume of natural gas shipped actually rose 1.2% and the quantity of electricity exported climbed 6.2%, while the volume of coal exported dipped only 0.1%.

Shipments of metallic mineral products climbed 5.4% year-to-date to September due to a five-fold jump in exports of unwrought aluminum (+407.3%) and a 32.4% jump in exports of unwrought lead. All other major metallic mineral product categories saw a decline in shipments, including copper ores and concentrates (-9.5%), which comprise well over half of total metallic mineral product exports. The surge in shipments of unwrought aluminum is the result of the ramp up to full production of the modernized Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter in Kitimat.

There was strong growth in exports of agriculture and food (+5.4%) and fish (+12.9%) products over the first three quarters of 2016. Shipments of plastics and articles of plastic also recorded strong growth, rising 9.3%. Exports of machinery and equipment were flat (+0.2%), while there were large drops in shipments of chemicals and chemical products (-7.6%) and fabricated metal products (-4.6%).

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 grew 5.1% in September as a 34.4% surge in shipments of energy products helped offset substantial declines in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-21.3%) and aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts (-27.5%).

The overall increase was driven by an 11.6% jump in exports to the United States as shipments to the rest of the world dipped 2.3%. Exports of energy products to the U.S. more than doubled (+113.4%) and there was also a substantial rise in shipments of motor vehicles and parts (+28.9%). Significant declines in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-21.1%) and energy products (-8.5%) were responsible for much of the drop in shipments to the rest of the world.

More information about British Columbia exports is available.

Did you know?

Canada and the European Union have signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). There is still a long way to go before the deal is ratified, but once it comes into force there will likely be a significant increase in trade in goods between Canada and the EU as tariffs are eliminated.