Issue 17-143 Exports

November 3, 2017

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports rose 17.1% in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to the same nine-month period in 2016. Exports to B.C.’s largest market, the United States, climbed 8.2%. Shipments to most of B.C.’s other major markets saw double-digit growth, with the notable exception of Australia, which saw a 6.8% decline. There was robust growth in exports to Mainland China (+12.7%), Japan (+32.4%), South Korea (+47.1%), the EU (+39.1%), India (+65.3%) and Taiwan (+39.5%).

By Commodity

B.C.’s exports of solid wood products fell 3.3% over the first three quarters of 2017 compared to the same period a year earlier. The value of softwood lumber shipments fell 5.4%, while volumes of lumber exported dropped 14.5%. Much of this drop is likely due to forest fires restricting access to logging sites and reducing the supply available for export,

B.C.’s exports of softwood lumber have fallen significantly in 2017

Exports September 2017

Source: Statistics Canada / Prepared by BC Stats


although the uncertainty arising from duties imposed by the United States could also have played a role. There were also declines in the value of shipments of cedar shakes and shingles (-10.0%), softwood plywood and veneer (-2.9%), selected value added wood products (-7.0%) and “other” solid wood products (-4.3%).[1] Exports of other panel products (+5.6%) and logs (+15.7%) bucked the overall trend.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, shipments of pulp and paper products have fared far better, rising 9.7% in value. Exports of pulp jumped 11.7% year-to-date to September, while shipments of newsprint climbed 7.9%. There was a marginal decline in exports of other paper and paperboard (-0.2%), but other pulp and paper product shipments grew 10.4%.

The value of B.C.’s energy product exports soared 84.6% year-to-date to September, compared to the first three quarters of 2016. The largest increase was in the value of shipments of coal (+114.5%), although much of that was due to higher prices, as volumes shipped climbed only 2.3%. Price inflation also played a part in the increase in value of natural gas and electricity shipments, although to a lesser extent than was the case with coal. Shipments of natural gas increased 86.4% in value and 54.4% in volume, while electricity exports grew 31.2% in value and 4.8% in volume. There was also an 11.9% rise in shipments of other energy products.

There was strong growth in the value of exports of metallic mineral products (+10.6%) year-to-date to September, despite the fact that shipments of copper ores and concentrates, which comprise about half of B.C.’s metallic mineral product exports, fell 3.5%. Significant growth in shipments of unwrought aluminum (+30.7%), unwrought zinc (+27.1%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (+285.2%), unwrought lead (+6.2%) and other metallic mineral products (+47.6%) more than offset the drop in copper exports.

There was strong growth in exports of agricultural and food products year-to-date (+16.8%), but shipments of fish products dipped 0.9%. There was growth in exports of machinery and equipment (+3.6%) and fabricated metal products (+14.4%); however, shipments of chemicals and chemical products (-3.8%) and plastics and articles of plastic (-5.6%) fell.[2]

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 climbed 3.7% in September, mainly on the strength of a 37.6% jump in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals, as well as a 3.7% increase in exports of energy products and an 8.3% rise in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products.

Exports increased both to the U.S. (+3.6%) and the rest of the world (+3.8%). A 4.9% rise in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials was the largest contributor to the increase to the U.S., while a 40.2% jump in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals drove the expansion of exports to the rest of the world.


[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.