Issue 17-121 Exports

October 5, 2017

By Destination

From January to August 2017, the value of B.C.’s commodity exports has jumped 17.8%, compared to the same eight-month period a year earlier. There has been strong growth in shipments to most major destinations, including the United States (+9.2%), Mainland China (+13.5%), Japan (+34.7%), South Korea (+45.9%), the European Union (+36.5%), India (+74.0%), Taiwan (+39.7%) and Hong Kong (+12.6%). Australia is the only major destination for B.C. exports to see a decline in shipments year-to-date (-5.1%).

By Commodity

The value of B.C.’s exports of energy products soared 92.5% in the first eight months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Shipments of both coal (+120.9%) and natural gas (+114.2%) more than doubled in value, while exports of electricity (+16.5%) and other energy products (+9.3%) also experienced strong growth. Prices played a substantial role in the increase, particularly for coal, for which volumes shipped actually edged down 0.1%.

B.C.’s trade with South Korea has been trending up since the trade deal between Canada and South Korea came into effect


Source: Statistics Canada / Prepared by BC Stats

The quantity of electricity exported was up only 1.1%, well below the increase in value. Even for natural gas, where the volumes exported jumped 64.1%, the increase was still much lower than that of values received for the good.

Exports of solid wood products slipped 2.3% year-to-date to August, with softwood lumber (-4.1%), softwood plywood and veneer (-1.1%), selected value added wood products (-7.0%), cedar shakes and shingles (-11.0%) and other solid wood products (-7.7%) all contributing to the decline.[1] Only shipments of logs (+18.3%) and other panel products (+6.3%) saw growth.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, exports of pulp and paper products experienced a healthy jump (+11.0%) in the January to August period, compared to the same eight months in 2016. Exports of pulp, in particular, recorded a robust increase, with growth of 12.9%. Shipments of newsprint (+5.8%), other paper and paperboard (+2.0%) and other pulp and paper products (+13.0%) also posted strong increases.

B.C.’s exports of metallic mineral products climbed 7.6% year-to-date, despite an 8.4% drop in shipments of copper ores and concentrates, which comprise around half the value of the province’s total metallic mineral exports. Substantial growth in exports of unwrought aluminum (+31.3%) and unwrought zinc (+30.1%), in particular, helped drive the overall increase, but there were also large jumps in shipments of molybdenum ores and concentrates (+324.7%), unwrought lead (+5.7%) and other metallic mineral products (+15.9%).

Exports of machinery and equipment rose 3.6% year-to-date to August, despite a 22.4% slump in shipments of aircraft and parts and a 1.2% dip in shipments of motor vehicles and parts.[2] Healthy increases in exports of electrical, electronic and communications equipment (+12.1%), scientific, photographic and measuring equipment (+8.6%) and other machinery and equipment (+4.8%) more than offset those declines.

Shipments of agriculture and food products climbed 16.1% year-to-date to August, but there was a marginal 0.4% drop in exports of fish products. Exports of chemicals and chemical products fell 5.3% and shipments of plastics and articles of plastic dropped 7.4%, but there was a 15.2% jump in exports of fabricated metal 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 edged up 0.9% in August as strong growth in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials (+3.6%), farm, fishing and intermediate food products (+16.8%) and energy products (+1.8%) more than offset decreases in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-21.8%) and consumer goods (-4.2%).

There was a 2.3% bump in exports to the United States, driven largely by a 6.9% rise in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials. However, exports to the rest of the world edged down 0.7%, pushed down by a 22.6% slide in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

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


[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.