Issue 18-171 Exports

October 5, 2018

By Destination

B.C. origin exports climbed 7.0% over the first eight months of 2018, compared to the January to August period a year earlier. Shipments increased to most major destinations, including the United States (+3.5%), Mainland China (+10.9%), Japan (+3.2%), the European Union (+17.0%), India (+48.2%) and Taiwan (+35.9%). South Korea (-3.4%), Australia (-7.7%) and Mexico (-40.7%) bucked the trend, with a decline in exports to those destinations.

By Commodity

B.C.’s pulp and paper exports jumped 24.5% year-to-date to August. Shipments of pulp (+29.6%), newsprint (+10.4%) and other paper and paperboard products (+16.2%) all saw strong growth; however, exports of other pulp and paper products dropped 22.0%.

In the last year there has been a sharp uptick in pulp exported from British Columbia

In the last year there has been a sharp uptick in pulp exported from British Columbia

There was also an increase in shipments of solid wood products, albeit a more modest 1.7%. Exports of softwood lumber grew 2.3% from January to August 2018, compared to the same period in 2017. There was also growth in shipments of softwood plywood and veneer (+19.9%), other panel products (+7.1%) and “other” solid wood products (+11.7%). On the other hand, there were decreases in exports of cedar shakes and shingles (-20.4%), logs (‑11.2%) and selected value added wood products (-4.3%).

There was a 3.4% drop in the value of shipments of energy products year-to-date to August, compared to the same eight-month period a year earlier. This was despite a 3.9% rise in coal shipments, which comprise around 64% of B.C.’s total energy exports. A 23.5% reduction in the value of exports of natural gas was largely responsible for the overall decline. This was entirely the result of a drop in price as volumes shipped actually increased 6.4%. Despite a substantial jump in price, exports of electricity dipped 3.1%. Volumes of electricity exported were cut by almost a third (-32.6%), precipitating the drop in value of shipments. There was a 7.8% increase in exports of other energy products.

B.C.’s shipments of metallic mineral products jumped 15.7% year-to-date to August. The only major product group with a decline in shipments in that period was unwrought lead (-19.8%). Exports of copper ores and concentrates (+8.6%), unwrought aluminum (+17.4%), unwrought zinc (+23.2%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (+36.6%) and other metallic mineral products (+291.6%) all recorded significant increases.

Other products to experience a healthy increase in shipments included machinery and equipment (+12.4%), agriculture and food products (+8.7%), fish products (+8.8%), fabricated metal products (+11.1%) and plastics and articles of plastic (+22.0%). One major product group going against the overall trend was chemicals and chemical products, which saw a 1.7% drop in exports.

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 increased 4.0% in August, mainly on the strength of a 92.6% surge in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals, which more than offset a 5.6% decline in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials.

Exports increased to both the United States (+3.3%) and the rest of the world (+4.7%). The increase in shipments to the U.S. was driven by a boost in shipments of energy products (+9.2%), metal and non-metallic mineral products (+9.9%) and farm, fishing and intermediate food products (+22.0%). For the rest of the world, exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals more than doubled (+101.9%) offsetting a 9.0% slump in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials.

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