Issue 19-191 Exports

December 5, 2019

By Destination

The value of B.C. origin exports fell 5.9% year-to-date to October, compared to the same ten-month period a year earlier. There were declines in exports to most of B.C.’s largest trading partners, including the United States (-4.9%), Mainland China (-1.3%), Japan (-14.6%), South Korea (-4.1%), the European Union (-9.7%) and Taiwan (-11.8%). The one bright spot was a 7.6% increase in exports to India.

By Commodity

There was a 4.5% increase in the value of B.C.’s energy product exports over the first ten months of 2019, compared to the same January to October period in 2018. This was despite a 4.3% reduction in the value of coal shipments and a 19.9% drop in exports of electricity. Exports of natural gas climbed 10.5%, but most of the overall increase was due to a 63.8% jump in shipments of other energy products, particularly crude oil and liquefied propane.

B.C. origin exports of ‘other’ energy products have soared in the last year, mostly due to increased shipments of crude oil and liquefied propane

B.C. origin exports of ‘other’ energy products have soared in the last year, mostly due to increased shipments of crude oil and liquefied propane

Forest product exports have declined substantially over the first ten months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. Both solid wood product (-19.8%) and pulp and paper product (-19.2%) shipments have experienced significant slumps.

Exports of softwood lumber have dropped 25.8%, due to a combination of reduced demand from the U.S., duties on exports to the U.S., and supply issues. The supply issues are the result of a scaling down of the accelerated harvest of pine beetle-damaged wood as salvageable timber from that source is running out, as well as timber lost in the record-setting forest fires of 2017 and 2018.

With the exception of selected value-added wood products (+10.1%), all other major solid wood categories recorded a drop in exports as well. With respect to pulp and paper, there were reductions in shipments of pulp (-21.6%), newsprint (-1.2%), other paper and paperboard (-11.8%) and other pulp and paper products (-8.1%).

B.C.’s shipments of metallic mineral products fell 9.3% year-to-date to October. Exports of copper ores and concentrates were fairly flat (+0.1%), but shipments of unwrought zinc (-18.2%), unwrought aluminum (-38.0%), unwrought lead (-0.4%) and molybdenum ores and concentrates (-7.7%) all dropped significantly. However, there was a substantial jump in exports of zinc ores and concentrates (+1835.9%) and also a large increase in exports of other metallic mineral products (+36.8%).

There was an 11.2% rise in exports of agriculture and food products year-to-date to October; however, fish and seafood product shipments fell 1.4%. Most of this was due to a 14.5% decline in exports of fresh, chilled and frozen whole salmon.

B.C.’s shipments of machinery and equipment climbed 5.8% and there was also an increase in exports of chemicals and chemical products (+2.1%). However, there were decreases in shipments of fabricated metal products (-5.0%) and plastics and articles of plastic (-2.9%).

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 4.0% in October, mostly due to a 30.2% slump in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals and a 4.9% drop in exports of consumer goods. The overall decline was entirely due to a 10.4% reduction in shipments to the rest of the world, as exports to the United States actually grew 2.4%.

Most of the growth in exports to the U.S. was due to an 18.2% jump in shipments of energy products. However, energy products (-10.3%) were also one of the main reasons for the drop in exports to the rest of the world, along with a 32.5% decline in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

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