ST. PAUL (May 29, 2015) – Minnesota exports of manufactured, agricultural and mining products were valued at $4.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
State exports were down 3.1 percent from the same period a year ago, while overall U.S. exports dropped 5.1 percent. Export sales fell in 33 states in the first quarter.
Regionally, Asia was Minnesota’s strongest market, with exports climbing 2 percent to $1.6 billion. Sales in North America, meanwhile, fell 2 percent to $1.6 billion. Exports to the European Union – the state’s third-largest regional market – declined 8 percent to $1 billion.
“Exports are a vital part of the Minnesota economy, contributing to new jobs, corporate profits and growth statewide,” said Kathleen Motzenbecker, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. “While overall sales dropped in the first quarter, Minnesota exporters are confident about the direction of the economy and the long-term growth of overseas markets.”
Export growth in Asia was driven by optic and medical instruments (up $104 million), aircraft, spacecraft (up $28 million) pharmaceutical products (up $9 million) and rubber (up $8 million).
Canada was Minnesota’s largest national market, with sales of $1.1 billion (down 11 percent). Mexico, the state’s second-largest market, continued its recent growth spurt, with sales climbing 23 percent to $533 million.
Other top 10 national export markets were China ($524 million, no change), Japan ($275 million, down 14 percent), Belgium ($237 million, down 5 percent), South Korea ($214 million, up 31 percent), Germany ($193 million, down 10 percent), Singapore ($139 million, up 29 percent), the Philippines ($127 million, down 4 percent) and the United Kingdom ($126 million, down 7 percent).
Export increases to Mexico were driven by vehicles (up $29 million), machinery (up $18 million), food byproducts (up $13 million), electrical machinery (up $13 million) and plastics (up $13 million).
The state’s top-selling export was optics and medical instruments, with sales climbing 10 percent to $945 million. The category experienced strong sales growth in Belgium (up 11 percent), China (up 28 percent), Japan (up 31 percent) and South Korea (up 92 percent).
Other top exports were machinery ($835 million, down 10 percent), electrical machinery ($623 million, down 3 percent), vehicles ($424 million, down 5 percent), plastics ($281 million, up 1 percent), food byproducts ($139 million, down 5 percent), aircraft, spacecraft ($128 million, up 14 percent), meat ($94 million, down 8 percent), miscellaneous grains and seeds ($92 million, up 60 percent) and iron, steel products ($84 million, up 7 percent).
Miscellaneous grains and seeds surged 60 percent due to stronger sales of sunflower seeds (up 111 percent) and soybean meal (up 218 percent).
Machinery sales fell 10 percent (down $100 million) as demand plunged more than 40 percent in Belgium, Japan and Australia and by 13 percent in Canada. The biggest sales declines in that category were for spraying equipment, computer and office machine parts, and construction equipment.
The full first-quarter report can be seen here. More information on first-quarter exports also can be found in a new online tool.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at http://mn.gov/deed . Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/mndeed.