Issue 19-159 Exports
October 4, 2019
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%.
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
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%).