Driven by sagging demand from Canada and Europe, Minnesota's exports fell in the third quarter, but at a slower pace than earlier in the year.
Minnesota's agriculture, ore and manufactured exports year over year fell 2 percent, or $124 million, to $4.9 billion for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, state officials said on Monday.
The decline is lower than the 8 percent plunge during the second quarter and the 5 percent drop of the first quarter.
Third-quarter shipments were greatest for Minnesota cereals, wheat and sorghum grains, airplane parts, organ meats and poultry, state officials reported. Normally modest demand for fats, oils, organic chemicals and fertilizers soared during the month, while medical parts rose just 1 percent.
Demand fell sharply during the quarter for Minnesota-made machinery, vehicle parts and plastics.
State results tracked trends seen nationwide. U.S. exports also fell 2 percent during the third quarter. Both state and national exports fell 5 percent for the first nine months of the year.
State officials noted that product sales to Canada dropped 13 percent to $1 billion. Canada is Minnesota's largest trading partner. The high U.S. dollar has made U.S. products more expensive in Canada and squeezed demand there for the last two years.
Minnesota product sales to Europe also fell during the quarter, slipping 8 percent to $1 billion. Declines were particularly noticeable in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Sweden and the United Kingdom, state officials said.
Shipments to Mexico fell 3 percent to $617 million. Mexico's change in demand was so small that the country remained Minnesota's second largest trading partner, behind Canada and ahead of China.
Mexico, which buys meat and metal hardware from Minnesota, has dramatically increased its standing here in recent years. It displaced China to become the state's second largest trading partner in 2014.
But China, which buys a lot of Minnesota grain, meat and stone/cement products, might be gunning for a comeback. In fact, an uptick in orders from China and other Asian nations greatly offset export declines from other countries during the quarter.
China beefed up orders 10 percent to $605 million. Shipments to Korea rose 33 percent to $217 million. Singapore grew 37 percent to $160 million while product sales to Taiwan rose 21 percent to $119 million. In all, Minnesota manufacturers exported $1.7 billion worth of goods to Asia.
In Europe, only Italy and the Netherlands saw increased trade numbers for the quarter.