Issue 20-18: Exports

February 5, 2020

By Destination

There was a 6.4% decline in the value of B.C. origin exports in 2019 with reductions in shipments to most major destinations. Exports fell to the United States (‑2.8%), Mainland China (-3.6%), Japan (-12.9%), South Korea (-11.8%), the European Union (-13.2%), India (‑0.2%) and Taiwan (-13.7%).

By Commodity

B.C.’s exports of solid wood products slumped 20.0% in 2019. Shipments of softwood lumber dropped 25.7%, due largely to a combination of tariffs on exports to the United States, as well as falling demand. There were also declines in shipments of logs (-10.7%), softwood plywood and veneer (-19.1%), other panel products (-19.3%), cedar shakes and shingles (-3.9%) and “other” solid wood products (-3.0%). Only selected value-added wood products bucked the overall trend, with exports rising 9.0% in 2019.

B.C. origin exports turned downward in 2019

B.C. origin exports turned downward in 2019

Elsewhere in the forest sector, there was also a 20.0% drop in the value of shipments of pulp and paper products. Exports of pulp plunged 22.2%, while there were also drops in shipments of newsprint (-6.2%), other paper and paperboard (-13.1%) and other pulp and paper products (-11.0%).

There was a 2.3% boost in exports of energy products in 2019, compared to the previous year. This was despite an 11.5% decline in the value of coal shipments. Much of this was due to price declines, as the volume of coal shipped fell only 1.3%. The value of exports of electricity also fell (-9.2%), but strong growth in the value of natural gas shipments (+10.4%) and exports of other energy  products (+91.5%) was enough to boost the value of overall energy product shipments. Crude oil and liquid propane were the largest contributors to the rise in exports of “other” energy products.

Shipments of metallic mineral products fell 9.9% in 2019, as exports of unwrought aluminum (-40.4%), unwrought zinc (-18.6%) and molybdenum ores and concentrates (-17.1%) all experienced sharp declines. There was also a marginal 0.5% dip in shipments of unwrought lead. However, exports of copper ores and concentrates, which comprise around 55% of total metallic mineral product shipments from B.C., inched up 0.2%. There was also a substantial increase in shipments of zinc ores and concentrates (+2092.4%) and a large boost in exports of other metallic mineral products (+42.7%).

B.C.’s exports of machinery and equipment climbed 6.5% in 2019. There were also increased shipments of agriculture and food products (+8.6%) and fish products (+1.7%). However, exports of fabricated metal products fell 5.3% and there was also a drop in shipments of chemicals and chemical products (-2.0%).

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 climbed 2.9% in December, buoyed by a 7.4% jump in shipments of energy products. All the growth was in shipments to the United States (+7.4%), as exports to the rest of the world fell 2.4%.

A 9.1% increase in exports of energy products, combined with a 22.3% jump in shipments of metal and non-metallic mineral products and a 7.1% rise in exports of forestry products and building and packaging materials was responsible for most of the increase in shipments to the United States. In contrast, forestry products and building and packaging materials were largely responsible for the drop in shipments to the rest of the world, with exports of those goods falling 14.4% in December.

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