Issue 19-110 Exports

July 3, 2019

By Destination

Through January to May 2019, the value of B.C. origin exports fell 1.3% compared to the same five-month period a year earlier. Exports to B.C.’s largest trading partner, the United States, dipped 0.4% and there were declines in shipments to Japan (-12.3%), South Korea (‑7.7%), Taiwan (-7.0%) and Hong Kong (-28.8%), while exports to the European Union were virtually unchanged. There was a marginal increase in shipments to Mainland China (+0.6%) and exports to India jumped 36.2%.

By Commodity

Exports of  forest products contributed to the overall decline, as shipments of solid wood products (-11.8%) and pulp and paper products (-7.0%) decreased significantly. There were reductions in shipments of softwood lumber (-14.5%), logs (-6.2%), softwood plywood and veneer (-15.4%), other panel products (‑17.2%) and cedar shakes and shingles (-10.5%), while exports of selected value-added products (+8.7%) and other solid wood products (+2.1%) increased.

For pulp and paper, the main driver of the overall decline was a 9.5% drop in exports of pulp. Shipments of newsprint climbed 25.0% and there was also a slight increase in exports of other paper and paperboard (+0.2%), but shipments of all other pulp and paper products fell 6.2%.

B.C.’s exports of energy products rose 5.8% year-to-date to May, compared to the same period in 2018, despite a 3.3% drop in coal shipments, which comprise almost 60% of B.C.’s total energy exports. The value of natural gas shipments increased 32.1%, which was entirely due to higher prices, as the volume of gas shipped fell 3.8%. Exports of electricity declined 5.7% in value, but higher prices prevented an even steeper decline as volumes of electricity exported actually fell 57.0%. The value of all other energy product exports jumped 11.9%.

There was a 6.0% boost in shipments of machinery and equipment in the first five months of 2019, compared to the same period a year earlier. Exports of motor vehicles and parts (+20.2%), scientific, photographic and measuring equipment (+11.4%) and aircraft and parts (+11.5%) all saw double-digit increases.

B.C.’s exports of machinery and equipment have been trending up

Exports for May 2019

There was a 7.5% decline in exports of metallic mineral products year-to-date to May. Shipments of copper ores and concentrates (-6.8%), unwrought aluminum (-10.5%), unwrought zinc (-20.9%) and unwrought lead (-23.6%) all declined. There was a resurgence in exports of zinc ores and concentrates, which have been almost nil in recent years, with shipments soaring 1905.8%. Shipments of molybdenum ores and concentrates edged up 1.2%, while other metallic mineral product exports jumped 40.1%.

Exports of agriculture and food products rose 21.8% year-to-date to May; however, shipments of fish and other seafood products fell 5.2%. There was a 12.7% boost in exports of chemicals and chemical products, while there as a decline in shipments of fabricated metal products (-5.8%) and plastics and articles of plastic (-0.4%).

Seasonally Adjusted Exports

The value of B.C.’s commodity exports climbed 8.3% in May, mostly due to a 143.6% surge in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals, as well as a 12.3% jump in shipments of energy products.

Despite the overall increase, exports to the United States fell 1.9%, with shipments to the rest of the world rising 18.9%. The reduction in exports to the U.S. was largely due to a 17.5% decrease in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products and a 4.2% decline in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials. The rise in shipments to the rest of the world was mainly due to substantial increases in exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (+154.8%) and energy products (+20.7%).

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