If you’ve been following the stock markets over the last few weeks you may be wanting to stuff your money under your mattress.
However, you’d be better off sinking it into British Columbia’s export sector, says Jobs Minister Pat Bell.
Led by strong gains to Asia and Europe, British Columbia’s exports for the first half of 2011 are up by nearly 14 per cent compared with the first six months of 2010.
Figures released by Statistics Canada show that B.C.’s international merchandise exports from January to June were worth $15.9 billion, compared with $14 billion last year.
“It’s a different story than what we’re hearing in the financial markets,” Bell said Friday.
Solid growth is being recorded in exports of forestry products, industrial goods and energy products, along with gains in agricultural and fishing products, machinery and equipment and automotive products, he said.
British Columbia’s domestic exports to Asia over the first half of 2011 are worth $6.9 billion, surpassing the $6.8 worth of goods shipped to the United States. Healthy year-to-date increases in exports have also been recorded to the European Union, up by 27 per cent to reach $1.2 billion, and to South America, up by 44 per cent and worth $454 million.
Bell attributes the robust export economy to a couple of factors. B.C.’s geographic location makes it just as easy to ship to China as it does to the eastern seaboard, where goods were traditionally shipped.
And, he says, lobbying efforts in China are starting to pay off.
For the second month in a row, the value of B.C. exports of softwood lumber to China surpassed the value shipped to the United States. In June, $130 million worth of softwood lumber was shipped to China compared with $125 million that was sold to the U.S.