California's export business rises for 17th month

Not even the March earthquake and tsunami that ravaged trading partner Japan were enough to derail California's export momentum.

The value of California exports in March totaled $13.95 billion, up 12.8 percent from $12.37 billion in March last year, according to an analysis of Wednesday's U.S. Commerce Department trade figures by Beacon Economics, a consultant with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

It was the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.

"On an inflation-adjusted basis, California's export trade hit a new high for the month of March, even exceeding the level of exports recorded at the height of the dot-com boom a decade ago," said Jock O'Connell, Beacon's international trade adviser.

The gains came despite devastation from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan.

Trade officials noted, however, that the full effects of trade with Japan – California's No. 3 trading partner and No. 4 export market – might not be apparent until April trade is reported.

Trade might actually trend up in coming months because of Japan's myriad needs to rebuild.

In March, California exporters saw year-over-year growth across the board.

Beacon said manufactured exports rose nearly 13 percent. Non-manufactured exports, chiefly raw materials and agricultural products, were up 10.9 percent. Re-exports increased almost 18 percent.

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