Issue 18-120 Exports

July 6, 2018

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports edged up 0.4% in the first five months of 2018 compared to January to May 2017, despite a 6.3% drop in shipments to B.C.’s largest trading partner, the United States. Substantial increases in exports to Mainland China (+8.2%), the European Union (+11.9%), India (+62.3%) and Taiwan (+25.6%) helped offset the drop in shipments to the U.S., as well as some other major destinations, such as Japan (-5.3%) and South Korea (-4.0%).

By Commodity

B.C.’s shipments of solid wood products fell 6.9% year-to-date to May relative to the same five-month period a year earlier. An 11.1% slump in exports of softwood lumber is responsible for most of the drop, although there were also declines in shipments of selected value added wood products (-8.3%), logs (-3.6%) and cedar shakes and shingles (-21.1%). Transportation issues earlier in the year were likely the main reason behind the reduction in lumber exports, as demand for lumber in the United States (the primary destination for B.C. lumber) remains high, despite the added cost resulting from U.S. duties.

B.C.’s exports of pulp and paper products have been trending up over the last couple of years

B.C.’s exports of pulp and paper products have been trending up over the last couple of years

Source: Statistics Canada / Prepared by BC Stats

Elsewhere in the forest sector, shipments of pulp and paper products have been trending up over the last couple of years. Year-to-date to May 2018, exports of pulp and paper products have risen 25.5% compared to January to May 2017. A 33.0% jump in shipments of pulp drove much of the increase; however, exports of newsprint (+3.4%) and other paper and paperboard (+9.7%) also expanded.

The value of energy product exports fell 13.8% year-to-date to May, with all major categories posting declines. Coal shipments slipped 0.8%, despite a 10.2% rise in the volume of coal shipped, as prices for the product fell. Similarly, although the volume of natural gas exported climbed 6.5%, lower prices resulted in a 30.1% drop in value. Exports of electricity fell both in value (-33.8%) and volume (-40.1%) and there was also a drop in the value of other energy product exports (-44.4%).

Shipments of metallic mineral products rose 16.5% year-to-date to May, with almost all major categories posting increases except for unwrought lead (-13.8%). Copper ores and concentrates (+11.3%), unwrought zinc (+28.2%), unwrought aluminum (+9.4%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (+25.8%) and other metallic mineral products (+315.8%) all recorded significant growth in exports.

There was a 2.8% increase in shipments of agriculture and food products and a 3.4% boost in exports of fish products in the January to May period, compared to the same five-month period in 2017. Exports of machinery and equipment grew 1.9%, while there was robust growth of 13.0% in shipments of fabricated metal products and 20.0% in exports of plastics and articles of plastic. On the other hand, shipments of chemicals and chemical 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.

There was a 1.2% increase in the value of B.C.’s commodity exports in May, largely due to a 3.0% rise in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials and a 61.7% jump in exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts. A 2.1% decline in exports of energy products and a 3.0% drop in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products muted the overall increase somewhat.

Somewhat surprisingly given the recent trade tensions, all the growth in total exports was in shipments to the U.S. (+3.8%), as exports to the rest of the world dipped 1.2%. A 7.8% boost in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials was the main driver behind the growth in shipments to the U.S., as well as a 5.6% rise in exports of energy products. Energy products were also instrumental in the change in shipments to the rest of the world, although in the other direction, as exports of energy products to the rest of the world fell 4.7% in May. A 16.3% decline in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products also contributed heavily to the decrease in exports to the rest of the world.

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