Minnesota exports set record for third quarter

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 30, 2013 - 8:12 PM

Economic officials credited trade offices for feeding the surge in sales, particularly of manufactured goods, at a rate that led the nation.

Minnesota’s product exports hit a record for the third quarter as machinery, medical supplies, vehicles and other manufactured goods were in high demand globally.

Canada, China, Mexico and Japan were the state’s largest trading partners between July and September, with exports reaching $5.2 billion. Excluding taconite and food, manufactured goods made up the bulk of those exports, rising 4.5 percent to $4.9 billion, state officials announced Monday.

“Minnesota’s manufactured exports continue to post strong results at a faster growth rate than the rest of the country,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Sieben noted that Minnesota-based companies are getting help from the state’s trade office in China and from its recently opened trade offices in Brazil, South Korea and Germany. “The state stands ready to assist small and mid-sized companies looking to sell their high-quality products in new markets.”

Not only was demand for most Minnesota-made manufactured goods strong, orders for Minnesota’s wood pulp and dairy products surged a respective 311 and 66 percent during the quarter amid fresh orders from Taiwan, Indonesia, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.

But the state also noted that it had two slumping export categories. Mineral fuel exports plummeted 74 percent to $38 million, while iron ore/slag and ash exports dropped 73 percent to $54 million. Those declines caused the state’s quarterly export rate to rise just 0.8 percent. If the two categories had been excluded, exports would have risen 6.2 percent.

During the quarter, sales to some of Minnesota’s largest markets dipped while sales to some of its smallest trading partners zoomed.

Canada bought $1.45 billion of Minnesota farm equipment and other goods during the quarter. Nevertheless, total sales fell 8 percent from the same 2012 period. Similarly, China’s purchases dropped 6 percent to $594 million. Japan’s purchases fell 3 percent to $269 million and Germany’s fell 8 percent to $171 million.

At the same time, Mexico’s purchases shot up 24 percent to $407 million. Belgium increased orders by 36 percent to $172 million. The Philippines and South Korea hiked their orders a respective 35 and 14 percent to $159 million each.

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