Issue 17-24: Exports

February 7, 2017

  • B.C. exports increased 9.8% from 2015 to 2016.
  • Solid wood product exports climbed 19.2% in 2016.
  • Energy product exports jumped 29.5% in value in 2016.

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports climbed 9.8% from 2015 to 2016. There was robust growth to B.C.’s top export destination, the United States (+12.9%), and there was also double-digit growth to South Korea (+18.8%), the European Union (+10.9%), Taiwan (+12.3%) and India (+29.7%). Exports to Mainland China (+2.5%) and Japan (+3.2%) grew at a more modest pace, while shipments to Australia (-12.3%) and Mexico (-47.9%) saw sharp declines.

B.C.'s exports to the U.S. experienced strong growth in 2016

By Commodity

The value of energy products exported from B.C. jumped 29.5% in 2016, driven mainly by a 44.4% jump in shipments of natural gas and a 33.2% rise in exports of coal. Exports of electricity (+1.3%) and other energy products (+6.5%) also increased. For coal, most of the growth was due to higher prices, as the volume of coal shipped climbed only 0.7%.

There was a 19.2% rise in exports of solid wood products in 2016. Shipments of softwood lumber (+19.5%), logs (+15.8%), selected value added wood products (+16.0%), softwood plywood and veneer (+4.6%), other panel products (+25.0%), cedar shakes and shingles (+8.2%) and other solid wood products (+41.4%) all increased.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, pulp and paper shipments declined 9.9%. Exports of pulp (-9.2%), newsprint (-36.7%) and other paper and paperboard (-9.2%) all fell, although shipments of other pulp and paper products bucked the trend, climbing 13.5%.

Exports of machinery and equipment stalled in 2016, edging up only 0.1% as strong growth in shipments of motor vehicles and parts (+27.3%) and scientific, photographic and measuring equipment (+8.4%) was mostly offset by drops in exports of electrical, electronic and communications products (-7.9%), aircraft and parts (-16.2%) and other machinery and equipment (-2.9%).

Exports of metallic mineral products climbed 8.8% in 2016, led by a 312.1% jump in shipments of unwrought aluminum. This more than four-fold increase was due to the newly expanded Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter in Kitimat ramping up to full production. Shipments of unwrought lead (+25.2%) and unwrought zinc (+3.2%) also expanded; however, there were declines in exports of copper ores and concentrates (-8.6%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (-11.2%), zinc ores and concentrates (-100%) and other metallic mineral products (-50.3%). Exports of fabricated metal products fell 1.4%.

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 rose 2.3% in December as strong growth in shipments of energy products (+11.4%) and farm, fishing and intermediate food products (+26.0%) offset significant declines in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (-3.5%), metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-10.2%), metal and non-metallic mineral products (-4.6%) and electronic and electrical equipment and parts (-8.8%).

Exports to the United States climbed 5.4%, while shipments to the rest of the world dipped 0.9%. Export growth to the U.S. was driven largely by a 32.5% boost in shipments of energy products. Large declines in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (-7.0%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-10.1%) dragged down overall exports to the rest of the world.

Did You Know?

Softwood lumber remains B.C.’s top valued export with over $6.9 billion worth shipped in 2016, representing just over a quarter of the total value of B.C.’s exports. The majority of B.C.’s lumber exports is destined for the United States, at almost $4.6 billion in 2016, or 66% of total softwood lumber exported.