California exports cool off a bit in May

California exports, off to a fast start through the first four months of this year, cooled off a bit in May.

California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $13.49 billion in May, up a modest 1 percent from $13.35 billion in the same month last year.

Los Angeles-based consulting firm Beacon Economics broke out Golden State numbers from national figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“California exporters actually did rather well in May, except for those in the aerospace sector, where shipments to foreign customers took a nasty tumble,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon’s international trade adviser. “Take the often-volatile aerospace sector out of the equation, and California’s export trade rose a very respectable 5.3 percent in May.”

O’Connell said exports of spacecraft/aircraft and related components fell nearly 50 percent year-over-year, primarily the result of abrupt declines in shipments to Taiwan, South Korea, and Germany.

California’s exports of manufactured goods in May dipped 2.5 percent to $8.58 billion, from $8.80 billion in May 2016. Exports of non-manufactured goods – chiefly agricultural products and raw materials – edged up by 1.7 percent to $1.77 billion, from $1.74 billion. Re-exports rose nearly 12 percent to $3.14 billion, from $2.81 billion in May last year.

Beacon said that California accounted for 10.5 percent of the nation’s overall merchandise export trade in May.

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