MN Exports Up 6% In 4th Quarter But Down In 2013

Minnesota exports got a boost in the fourth quarter of 2013, although full-year results were down slightly from 2012.

Minnesota exports grew 6 percent between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2013 to be valued at $5.4 billion, Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said Tuesday.  
 
The growth is slightly above the national rate of 4 percent. DEED reported that the quarterly export rate had not exceeded 5 percent since the third quarter of 2011. DEED attributed the growth to strong exports to China—which were up $194 million, or 35 percent, to $743 million—and Mexico, which grew 32 percent to $439 million. 
 
“Minnesota had a strong fourth quarter and was one of 19 states that saw exports grow more than 5 percent,” DEED commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement.
 
The growth however, largely hinged on the volatile ore/slag/ash product group, which has a tendency to swing dramatically from quarter to quarter, DEED noted. That group jumped 63 percent to $200 million in the fourth quarter.
 
Minnesota’s largest exporting region, North America, was flat overall at $1.9 billion. Canada, the largest market, actually saw sales decrease 7 percent from the same period a year ago to $1.48 billion, due to lagging demand for mineral fuel products.
 
Clark Sieben said, however, that DEED’s outlook for 2014 was positive and she expects the quarterly growth trend to increase with the addition of three new foreign trade offices in Dusseldorf, Germany; Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Seoul, South Korea. The additional foreign trade offices were part of a $1.5 million investment by the state’s Minnesota Global Competitive Initiative.  While South Korea and Germany are among the top 10 export destinations, sales to Korea dropped in the fourth quarter on weakening demand for aircraft products.
 
Still Down for the Full Year
 
Despite the gains during the fourth quarter, full-year Minnesota exports (valued at $20.7 billion) were down 0.5 percent, or $107 million, from 2012.
 
Minnesota fared poorly compared to the national average; U.S. exports as a whole grew 2.1 percent in 2013.
 
Minnesota's dip in exports may make it difficult for the state to achieve previously announced exporting goals. For example, Governor Mark Dayton previously announced an initiative that aims to increase exports from Twin Cities-area companies from $17.6 billion in 2010 to $35 billion by 2017.