With slowing orders from Canada, Europe and China, Minnesota's third quarter exports slid 2.2% to $5.6 billion from a year ago.
Minnesota's rate of export decline exceeded the national decline as U.S. product sales fell 1.7% between the third quarter of 2018 and 2019, according to data released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Minnesota's decline was largely credited to top markets that "struggled," state officials said, noting reduced orders from Canada, China, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
Minnesota's largest trading partner, Canada, reduced product orders from Minnesota manufacturers by 2% to $1.21 billion. Exports to China fell 3% to $651 million, while product sales to Germany slipped 1% to $279 million. Shipments to England fell 8% to $129 million.
At the same time, sales to Mexican customers jumped a welcome $49 million or 8% to $659 million. In another dose of good news, Minnesota-made goods sent to Thailand, France and the Netherlands rose a respective $22 million, $16 million and $11 million between third quarter 2018 and 2019.
On a global basis, Minnesota's best-selling exports included optical and medical products which rose 4% to $1.17 billion.
The state's next-largest product category — machinery sales — fell 8% to $829 million, while electrical equipment sales fell 6% to $721 million during the third quarter. Plastics suffered the largest declines, plunging 11% to $349 million during the quarter.
State officials noted that the mixed monthly trade report was impacted by the aggressive trade wars the United States has launched against several trading partners, especially China.
"The president's trade war continues to create uncertainty for Minnesotans and hurt our economic growth," said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz in a statement. "Minnesota farmers and small-business owners rely on access to export markets to grow their businesses and create jobs."
Other economic reports issued Monday, including the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) and Creighton University's regional Mid-America Business Conditions report noted that manufacturers continue to suffer from displaced supply chains and rising costs stemming from fresh U.S. tariff hikes (and retaliatory duties) on European automobile imports and on goods made in China, Mexico and Canada.