Issue 18-46: Exports

March 7, 2018

  • B.C. exports dropped 1.5% in January, compared to the same month in 2017
  • Lumber exports fell 15.6% from January 2017 to January 2018
  • Metallic mineral product shipments climbed 18.6% in January from a year ago

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports fell 1.5% in January, compared to the same month in 2017. There was a marginal 0.3% dip in shipments to the United States, while exports to Mainland China (-3.2%), Japan (-2.0%), South Korea (-33.3%) and Hong Kong (-11.4%) saw much larger declines. However, there were significant increases in shipments to the European Union (+8.0%) and Mexico (+10.9%), while exports to India exploded, rising 1124.1% with over $111 million worth of shipments to that country in January, mainly comprised of copper ores and concentrates and coal.

There has been rapid growth in exports from British Columbia to India

Rapid growth in exports from B.C. to India

Source: Statistics Canada / Prepared by BC Stats

By Commodity

Exports of solid wood products dropped 15.6% in January, compared to January 2017. Most of the drop was due to a 22.0% slump in exports of softwood lumber; however, there were also reduced shipments of most other wood products, with the exception of softwood plywood and veneer (+15.4%) and other panel products (+18.8%).

Elsewhere in the forest sector, shipments of pulp and paper products rose 15.7% with both pulp (+19.2%) and newsprint (+54.9%) experiencing robust growth in exports. However, there was a reduction in shipments of other paper and paperboard products (‑3.2%) and other pulp and paper products (-9.0%).

The value of B.C.’s exports of metallic mineral products jumped 18.6% year-over-year to January. Most of the growth was in copper ores and concentrates (+31.3%) and unwrought zinc (+31.1%). There was a sharp decline in shipments of unwrought lead (-34.5%), with smaller drops in exports of unwrought aluminum (-8.6%) and molybdenum ores and concentrates (-12.0%). Exports of other metallic mineral products surged 369.4%.

B.C.’s shipments of energy products fell 2.3% in January, compared to a year earlier, despite a 37.8% jump in the value of natural gas exports. A 23.8% slump in the value of coal shipments drove much of the overall decline. The fall was entirely due to reduced prices as the volume of coal exported actually increased 6.4%. Exports of electricity were fairly flat (-0.3%) as a 22.6% drop in volume exported offset most of the price increase for electricity.

B.C.’s exports of agriculture and food products edged up 0.8% in January, compared to the same month a year earlier, while shipments of fish products dropped 29.0%.

There was an 11.1% rise in exports of fabricated metal products, while shipments of machinery and equipment inched up 0.9%. Exports of chemicals and chemical products fell 5.6%, while shipments of plastics and articles of plastic climbed 16.0%.

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 fell 3.9% in January, primarily due to an 11.5% decline in shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials and a 15.0% drop in exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products. There was strong growth in exports of energy products (+7.4%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (+16.1%), which offset some of the decreases elsewhere.

Shipments fell to both the United States (-5.0%) and the rest of the world (-2.8%). For the U.S., the primary driver of the decline was a 20.1% drop in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials, which alone more than offset a 25.2% jump in shipments of energy products. However, energy products were one of the main contributors to the decline in exports to the rest of the world, with shipments falling 5.6%. A 16.3% rise in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals was one of the few bright spots in B.C.’s exports to non-U.S. destinations.

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

Did You Know?

The value of B.C.’s shipments of aluminum products that could be subject to U.S. tariffs was $597 million in 2017. For steel products that could be hit by the proposed U.S. tariff, the value exported from B.C. to the U.S. was $78.8 million in 2017.