Issue 19-03 Exports

January 8, 2019

By Destination

The value of B.C.’s commodity exports rose 7.3% through the first 11 months of 2018 compared to January to November 2017. There were increased exports to most of B.C.’s major trade partners, including the United States (+2.7%), Mainland China (+5.5%), Japan (+15.2%), the European Union (+19.1%), India (+52.7%) and Taiwan (+34.6%). South Korea was a notable exception as shipments to that country fell 4.8%.

By Commodity

There was a 0.2% dip in exports of solid wood products in the January to November period of 2018, compared to the same 11-month period a year earlier. Shipments of softwood lumber (-1.0%), logs (-8.9%), selected value-added wood products (-3.5%) and cedar shakes and shingles (-21.2%) all declined. However, there were increases in exports of softwood plywood and veneer (+14.2%), other panel products (+5.6%) and all other solid wood products (+22.4%).

B.C.’s exports of agriculture and food products have been trending up over the last few years

B.C.'s exports: Agriculture and food products

Elsewhere in the forest sector, there was a healthy 22.0% jump in exports of pulp and paper products. Pulp (+25.2%), newsprint (+15.9%) and other paper and paperboard (+19.0%) all recorded significant gains in exports; however, all other pulp and paper product shipments fell 17.1%.

Exports of energy products climbed 2.5% year-to-date to November 2018, compared to the same 11-month period in 2017. Much of this increase was due to a 9.1% rise in shipments of coal. There was also an increase in exports of “other” energy products (+13.1%), while shipments of both natural gas (-14.7%) and electricity (-4.1%) fell in value, largely due to lower prices. In fact, for natural gas, lower prices were the entire reason for the decline as volumes shipped actually increased 7.3%.

Exports of agriculture and food continued to trend upward, jumping 9.3% year-to-date to November 2018, compared to the same period a year earlier. There was a similar increase in shipments of fish products (+9.4%) over that period.

There was fairly strong growth in shipments of metallic mineral products, with a 9.6% increase. With the exception of unwrought lead (-34.9%), all other major commodity categories recorded an increase in exports. Copper ores and concentrates (+6.2%), unwrought aluminum (+16.9%), unwrought zinc (+10.6%), molybdenum ores and concentrates (+41.8%) and all other metallic mineral products (+88.5%) all saw a boost in shipments.

There was a 13.0% surge in exports of machinery and equipment in the January to November period of 2018, compared to the same 11-months a year earlier. Motor vehicles and parts (+67.9%) and aircraft and parts (+45.3%) recorded substantial increases in exports.

Year-to-date to November, there were increased shipments of fabricated metal products (+10.0%), chemicals and chemical products (+1.9%) and plastics and articles of plastic (+19.1%).

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 1.2% in November, mainly due to a substantial jump in shipments of energy products (+17.1%), which helped offset declines in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (-8.0%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-30.1%).

Exports to the United States grew 2.2%, while shipments to the rest of the world inched up 0.2%. The increase in exports to the U.S. was mainly driven by a  13.5% boost in exports of energy products and a 13.2% rise in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products. A 19.2% jump in exports of energy products to the rest of the world helped offset significant declines in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-29.6%) and forestry products and building and packaging materials (-9.2%).

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