Issue 19-159 Exports

October 4, 2019

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports dropped 5.3% year-to-date to August, compared to the same eight-month period a year earlier. There were declines in shipments to most major destinations, including the United States (-5.4%), Mainland China (-1.5%), Japan (-10.4%), South Korea (-8.7%), the European Union (-6.2%) and Taiwan (-9.0%). The one bright spot was exports to India, which jumped 26.2%.

By Commodity

A 21.7% boost in shipments of natural gas helped drive up overall energy product exports (+5.1%), despite a 42.8% slump in exports of electricity and a 2.4% dip in shipments of coal. There was also a 50.1% rise in exports of all other energy products.

B.C.’s exports of solid wood products declined 18.6% year-to-date to August, compared to the same period a year earlier. Softwood lumber shipments slumped 24.5% as the combined effects of the trade dispute with the United States and falling demand weighed heavily on the industry. There were also reductions in exports of logs (-9.1%), softwood plywood and veneer (-18.0%), other panel products (-14.1%) and cedar shakes and shingles (-7.7%). Selected value-added wood products bucked the overall trend, with shipments climbing 11.2%, while exports of all other solid wood products edged up 0.4%.

B.C.’s softwood lumber exports have been hit hard by U.S. tariffs and slumping demand

B.C.’s softwood lumber exports have been hit hard by U.S. tariffs and slumping demand.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, there was a 15.6% drop in exports of pulp and paper products. Newsprint shipments increased 11.3%; however, exports of pulp (-18.2%), other paper and paperboard (-8.1%) and other pulp and paper products (-7.6%) all declined.

There was an 8.9% drop in shipments of metallic mineral products in the first eight months of 2019, compared to the same period a year earlier. Copper ores and concentrates, which comprise over half of all B.C.’s metallic mineral product shipments, fell 2.4%. There were also declines in exports of unwrought aluminum (-30.7%), unwrought zinc (‑17.9%) and unwrought lead (-14.9%). Exports of molybdenum ores and concentrated inched up 0.9% and there was a substantial jump in shipments of zinc ores and concentrates (+1835.9%). Exports of all other metallic mineral products also increased, rising 31.1%.

Exports of agriculture and food products climbed 9.1% year-to-date to August; however, shipments of fish and seafood products fell 2.5%. There was a 4.5% boost in shipments of machinery and equipment, and exports of chemicals and chemical products climbed 7.0%, but there were also decreases in shipments of fabricated metal products (‑5.7%) and plastics and articles of plastic (-4.1%).

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.

There was a 3.2% drop in the value of B.C.’s commodity exports in August, largely due to a 10.6% decline in shipments of energy products, although falling exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials (-3.5%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-8.6%) also contributed significantly to the overall decrease.

Exports to the United States dipped 0.3%, while shipments to the rest of the world fell 6.0%. A 12.0% decrease in exports of energy products to the U.S. more than wiped out increases in shipments of consumer goods (+8.3%) and electronic and electrical equipment and parts (+14.1%). Falling energy product shipments (-9.9%) were also the primary driver of the reduction in exports to the rest of the world, along with decreased shipments of forestry products and building and packaging materials (-7.2%) and metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-9.4%).