Issue 16-70: Exports

April , 2016

  • B.C. exports increased 4.7% year-to-date to February.
  • Machinery and equipment exports jumped 15.0% in the first two months of 2016.
  • Energy product exports fell 22.2% compared to the first two months of 2015.

By Destination

Over the first two months of 2016, B.C.’s commodity exports climbed 4.7% compared to the same two-month period in 2015. There was strong growth in shipments to B.C.’s two largest trading partners, the United States (+8.7%) and Mainland China (+13.5%). Exports to the European Union (+10.3%) and India (+85.4%) also experienced robust growth, but there were substantial declines in shipments to Japan (‑5.7%), South Korea (-23.0%), Taiwan (-26.6%) and Hong Kong (-19.4%).

By Commodity

Shipments of machinery and equipment jumped 15.0% year-to-date. Exports of motor vehicles and parts were a major factor in the increase, almost doubling (+97.1%).

B.C.'s shipments of machinery and equipment continue to rise

Shipments of solid wood products surged 21.2% over the first two months of 2016, compared to January to February 2015. All major wood categories saw double-digit increases, with the exception of logs, which fell 11.2%.

Pulp and paper product exports edged up 1.5% year-to-date. This was due to a 6.4% rise in pulp shipments and a 16.5% increase in “other” pulp and paper product exports, which more than offset a 31.7% plunge in exports of newsprint and a 9.3% drop in shipments of other paper and paperboard.

The value of energy product exports slumped 22.2% year-to-date. A 38.2% jump in exports of electricity was the one bright spot in the energy sector, as shipments of coal fell 29.2%, exports of natural gas slipped 9.3% and other energy product shipments declined 39.2%. Lower prices were a major factor in the declines. In fact, for natural gas, the drop in prices was the entire reason for the lower value of exports, as the volume shipped increased 7.5%.

There was a 5.6% boost in shipments of metallic mineral products year-to-date to February. A 29.6% rise in exports of copper ores and concentrates was the main driver of the increase, although unwrought aluminum (+39.3%) and unwrought lead (+19.1%) shipments also expanded. Tempering the overall growth were declines in shipments of unwrought zinc (-14.7%), zinc ores and concentrates (of which there have been no exports so far in 2016), molybdenum ores and concentrates (-86.9%) and other metallic mineral products (-73.5%).

Other goods experiencing strong growth in exports included agriculture and food products (+10.9%), fish products (+14.1%) and fabricated metal products (+10.4%). There was a 2.3% drop in exports of chemicals and chemical products.

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 inched up 0.5% in February as a 3.3% rise in shipments to the United States offset a 2.5% drop in exports to the rest of the world. The main drivers of growth were a 21.6% jump in exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products and a 5.5% boost in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals. At the other end of the scale, there was an 8.3% slump in shipments of industrial machinery, equipment and parts.

A substantial 24.9% expansion in exports of energy products, combined with a 4.0% increase in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials were the main contributors to the rise in exports to the United States. However, shipments of industrial machinery, equipment and parts to the U.S. fell 10.1%.

More information about British Columbia exports is available.

Did you know?

In 2015, the value of B.C.’s exports to Mainland China was just over 12 times what it was in 1995.