Issue 19-92 Exports

June 6, 2019

By Destination

Through the first four months of 2019, B.C. origin exports dipped 1.4% compared to the same four-month period a year earlier. This is despite the fact that exports increased to B.C.’s two largest markets, the United States (+1.3%) and Mainland China (+6.7%). There was a substantial decline in shipments to a number of Asian destinations, including Japan (‑21.1%), South Korea (-17.1%), and Hong Kong (‑31.1%). Exports to the EU also fell significantly (-5.1%). On the flip side, there was a sizeable jump in shipments to India (+50.6%).

By Commodity

B.C.’s shipments of solid wood products fell 10.3% year-to-date to April. Among the major wood categories, only exports of selected value-added wood products saw an increase in exports, rising 6.5%. Shipments of softwood lumber (-10.4%), logs (-13.2%), softwood plywood and veneer (-15.2%), other panel products (-20.6%), cedar shakes and shingles (-16.9%) and other solid wood products (-0.4%) all declined.

Elsewhere in the forest sector, there was also a decrease in exports of pulp and paper products (-2.3%).  Most of the drop was due to a 4.1% reduction in shipments of pulp, as exports of newsprint (+19.8%) and other paper and paperboard (+3.8%) increased. However, there was also a decline in shipments of all other pulp and paper products.

There was a 14.8% slump in exports of metallic mineral products year-to-date to April, compared to January to April in 2018. Exports of copper ores and concentrates plunged 20.0%, accounting for most of the overall drop; however, there were also reductions in shipments of unwrought aluminum (-7.7%), unwrought zinc (-19.0%), unwrought lead (‑21.7%) and molybdenum ores and concentrates (-6.0%). In contrast, exports of zinc ores and concentrates, although still relatively small, jumped 417.1% and shipments of all other metallic mineral products climbed 31.1%.

B.C.’s exports of unwrought aluminum, which were starting to trend down in the face of U.S. tariffs, could turn around as those tariffs have been lifted.

Unwrought aluminum trends, B.C. exports, April 2019.

Source: Statistics Canada / Prepared by BC Stats

The value of B.C.’s exports of energy products increased 5.3% in the first four months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Much of the growth was driven by a 31.7% boost in the value of natural gas shipments, which was entirely due to a price increase, as volumes of gas exported fell 4.6%. Similarly, while exports of electricity climbed 11.8% in value, there was actually a substantial 45.6% drop in volumes transmitted across the border. The value of coal shipments bucked the overall trend, falling 3.7%, while exports of all other energy products increased 4.0%.

There was a significant jump in exports of agriculture and food products (+21.7%); however, shipments of fish and other seafood products fell 6.8%. Other commodities that saw robust increases in exports included machinery and equipment (+7.4%) and chemicals and chemical products (+10.9%).

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 slumped 7.4% in April, mainly as a result of a 23.9% drop in shipments of energy products. Exports fell to both the United States (-1.4%) and the rest of the world (-13.0%).

A 23.7% decline in shipments of energy products was the primary driver for the reduction in exports to the U.S., more than offsetting significant increases in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products (+13.8%) and forestry products and building and packaging materials (+3.8%). Energy was also one of the main reasons for the decline in shipments to the rest of the world, with exports of energy products falling 24.0%; however, there were also substantial reductions in shipments of metal ores and non-metallic minerals (-23.2%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (-31.2%).

Please visit the Exports pages for more information.