Minnesota’s exports fall in 2nd quarter

Published 2:46 pm Saturday, August 31, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s exports decreased nearly 6 percent in the second quarter as falling sales in Canada and China prompted the first such decline since the recession.

According to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, exports to Canada fell $182 million, or 15 percent, and they fell $155 million to China, or 21 percent. The two countries account for 40 percent of Minnesota exports.

Exports to Europe rose 12 percent as sales in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland grew. But the growth to those markets didn’t make up for declines due to a slowing Chinese economy and lower shipments of ore and fuel to Canada.

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“China’s economy is still growing, but the growth slowed somewhat in the first half of the year, affecting exports,” said Madeline Koch, a spokesman for the state economic development agency.

State companies posted international sales of $5.2 billion, a 5.7 percent drop from the same period a year ago.

“To continue strengthening our economy, we need to identify market demand for Minnesota’s high-quality products and increase exports,” said Katie Clark Sieben, the department’s commissioner.

The reason for the decline in exports to Canada is more complex. Exports of ores, slag and ash from Minnesota to Canada fell 91 percent compared with the second quarter a year ago. Mineral fuels and oils exports to Canada fell 86 percent.

The drop in those products could be due to shifts in the timing of reports or changes in routes in which commodities travel to Canada.

Sales to South Korea and Japan also fell in the quarter.

Exports to Africa improved, climbing 24 percent in the quarter to $60 million. Minnesota’s exports to Central and South America increased by 3 percent to $260 million.