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California trade numbers improve again

March 11, 2010 |  1:23 pm

California exports improve

For the third straight month, California's exports showed improvement over the same period a year earlier, according to an analysis of federal trade data by the University of California Center Sacramento.

The $10.3 billion in goods shipped abroad in January represented a 18.5% increase over the $8.7 billion recorded during the same month last year. The products shipped by land, sea and air included high-end, top-value items such as civilian aircraft engines and parts. They also included low-value bulk, such as scrap metal and paper that will become the raw materials for new goods manufactured in Asia.

During January, California also imported $23 billion in goods from overseas, up 14.6% over year-earlier figures.

There was a caveat to the good news: The trade figures are still far below those recorded during the global economic boom.

"We are now just getting back to the level of exporting we were at in early 2007, before the global financial and economic crisis sent international trade spiraling down," said Jock O'Connell, the UC center's international trade and economics advisor.

California's top trade partners are, in order, Mexico, Canada, Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, Britain and the Netherlands.

-- Ronald D. White

Photo: Containerships and cranes like Pier T at the Port of Long Beach. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times