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Minnesota Exports at $5.3 Billion in First Quarter

State companies set record for export sales in a first quarter

ST. PAUL – Sales of Minnesota agricultural, mining and manufactured exports soared 9 percent to a first quarter record of $5.3 billion, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The agency said Minnesota businesses exported 930 different products to 187 countries during the quarter. U.S. exports were up 8 percent during the period, with 45 states reporting increased export sales.

“Minnesota companies achieved sales that were $450 million higher in the first quarter than in the same period a year earlier,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Demand for Minnesota-made products is growing in virtually every region of the world.”

Asia was the state’s top export region, with sales climbing 21 percent to $2 billion. Minnesota exports grew 1 percent to $1.6 billion in North America and 9 percent to $1.2 billion in Europe. Exports sales also climbed in Central and South America (up 2 percent), the Middle East (up 2 percent) and Africa (up 34 percent). The Australia-Pacific area (down 18 percent) was the only major region where sales fell.

Minnesota’s top national market was Canada, with sales climbing 10 percent from a year ago to $1 billion. Other top 10 markets were China ($698 million, up 25 percent), Mexico ($537 million, down 13 percent), Japan ($342 million, up 18 percent), South Korea ($249 million, up 10 percent), Germany ($246 million, up 28 percent), Singapore ($199 million, up 52 percent), United Kingdom ($156 million, up 15 percent), Belgium ($147 million, down 16 percent) and Netherlands ($113 million, down 9 percent).

Optics/medical was the top-selling product at $1.1 billion in sales, an increase of 23 percent from the first quarter one year ago. Other top 10 exports were machinery ($805 million, down 1 percent), electrical machinery ($703 million, up 10 percent), plastics ($373 million, up 18 percent), vehicles ($315 million, down 7 percent), pharmaceuticals ($143 million, up 63 percent), food byproducts ($132 million, down 4 percent), aircraft, spacecraft ($122 million, down 28 percent), meat ($109 million, up 9 percent) and miscellaneous grain, seed ($101 million, up 103 percent).

Pharmaceutical sales jumped 63 percent, led by a 186 percent increase in exports to China and growth in smaller markets like Singapore (up 575 percent), Germany (up 259 percent) and Japan (up 128 percent). Major growth in miscellaneous grain, seed sales (up 103 percent) was driven by China ($64 million, up from $2 million) and Morocco ($9 million, up from $27,400). The main export in both cases was soybeans.

Optic and medical products also grew significantly (up 23 percent) thanks to sales growth in Japan (up 57 percent), South Korea (up 31 percent) and China (up 14 percent).

The full first quarter 2018 export report can be seen at DEED export and trade statistics.

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 its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.


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