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California exports falter in August

October 14, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Cargo Foreigners didn't want our cereals this summer. Our oil, aircraft or chemicals either. That's according to a trade report by Beacon Economics that indicates that California's exports faltered in August after nine months of steady recovery.

The state shipped $11.85 billion worth of goods in August, just 0.2% higher than what it sent in July. In the past decade, August export trade has on average exceeded July by 7%, said Jock O'Connell, international trade adviser at Beacon Economics.

"August 2009 was a lousy month in an exceptionally dismal year for trade," O'Connell said.

He doesn't think exports from the state will increase in the next few months, because austerity measures abroad are weakening consumer demand.

The state imported $30.35 billion in August, a whole lot more than it exported, making the state's trade deficit $18.47 billion.

California's share of U.S. exports was 11.1% in August. The state's share of exports has been shrinking since 2002, when it had a 15% share.

Still, the numbers were a modest improvement from August 2009, when the state exported $10.03 billion worth of goods.

Beacon also posted July numbers on where our goods are going, and what we're sending. The state's fastest-growing trade partners are Brazil and Israel, while its fastest-shrinking partners are Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Mexico, Canada and China are still the three countries that receive the most exports from the state, at $1.7 billion, $1.3 billion and $1.1 billion worth in July, respectively.

The state exported $2.3 billion worth of electric machinery in July. That's the state's biggest export, and one of its fastest-growing.

Coal and cereals were the state's fastest-declining exports in July. The state exported $267 million worth of oil  in July, down from $629 million two years ago. We sent out $63 million worth of cereals, down from a peak of $153 million in the peak of February 2009.

Cheerio, cereals.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo by Georgio via Flickr