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State exports reach record $5.5 billion in third quarter

Monday, December 29, 2014

By Brainerd Dispatch

Minnesota exports of manufactured, agricultural and mining products reached a record $5.5 billion in the third quarter, a 5.8 percent increase from the same period a year ago, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). U.S. exports during the quarter were up 4.2 percent.

The department said the state's largest export region was North America, where sales climbed 16 percent from a year ago to $2.2 billion. Exports climbed 4 percent to $1.7 billion in Asia while falling 5 percent to $965 million in the European Union.

Among smaller markets, exports to the Australia-Pacific region leaped 19 percent to $145 million, based largely on the strength of New Zealand, where exports climbed 172 percent to $36 million.

"Minnesota's record quarter is another sign that our economy is on the right track," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben in a news release. "Strong exports create jobs, improve corporate profits and contribute to economic growth statewide."

Canada was Minnesota's strongest national market, with sales climbing 5 percent to $1.55 billion. Other top 10 national markets were Mexico ($640 million, up 57 percent), China ($555 million, down 6 percent), Japan ($306 million, up 14 percent), Belgium ($184 million, up 6 percent), South Korea ($171 million, up 9 percent), Germany ($168 million, down 2 percent), the Philippines ($157 million, down 1 percent), Singapore ($144 million, up 10 percent) and the United Kingdom ($127 million, up 3 percent).

Mexico had the largest gain among all countries, with exports climbing $233 million because of strong sales growth in agricultural goods, machinery, electrical machinery and vehicles.

The state's top export category was optic, medical and other products, up 16 percent to $938 million. Increased sales to Japan (up 37 percent), China (up 20 percent) and Belgium (up 18 percent) drove much of the growth in that category. The strongest product sales in that category were for medical and surgical instruments and optic fiber.

Other top export categories were machinery ($860 million, down 11 percent), electrical machinery ($713 million, up 11 percent), vehicles ($540 million, down 8 percent), plastic ($314 million, up 25 percent), food byproducts ($162 million, up 1 percent), aircraft, spacecraft ($135 million, up 19 percent), ores, slag, ash ($135 million, up 152 percent), cereals ($118 million, up 63 percent) and mineral fuel, oil ($95 million, up 150 percent).

The big jumps in ores, slag and ash (up 152 percent) and mineral fuel, oil (up 150 percent) were driven by sales increases in Canada.

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