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Minnesota exports set record for a single quarter

Minnesota’s export of manufactured goods hit a record high of $4.6 billion last quarter, up 16 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009.

For the year, Minnesota’s exports grew 17.3 percent to $17.2 billion, which was just below the record $17.3 billion set in 2008, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

For the country as a whole, export of manufactured (non agricultural) goods grew 15.6 percent in the fourth according to DEED.

Canada remains Minnesota’s largest export market, garnering $1.3 billion in exports in Q4 and $4.6 billion for the year.

The other top markets span the globe: China ($517 million for Q4 and $1.8 billion for the year), Japan ($238 million and $930 million respectively); Mexico ($225 million and $937 million) and Germany ( $197 million and $827 million) round out the top five.

Minnesota’s exports by category this quarter were consistent with previous quarters with computers and electronics the largest, up 20 percent from Q4 a year ago to $1.080 million.

Minnesota’s fastest-growing export markets in Q4 were in Asia, with China up 42 percent, the Philippines up 44 percent to $142 million, Taiwan up 29 percent to $105 million and Thailand up 29 percent to $91 million.

Computers and electronic equipment remains the single largest export category and drove the growth to Asia, according to DEED.

The state’s exports have grown from $9.5 billion in 2000 to $17.2 billion in 2010 for an average of 6.1 percent yearly growth over the decade.

“Minnesota’s exports, compared to U.S. exports to Europe, were about even this past quarter,” said Katie Clark, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office for DEED.

Given the diverse nature of the state’s industrial base, “it’s difficult to draw a direct correlation to the U.S. as a whole,” she said.

Clark said transportation equipment, which includes lawnmowers from Toro and snowmobiles ant ATVs  from Arctic Cat and Polaris, was the third largest category at $632 million and has been “a consistently strong category.”

Minnesota has more of a focus on North America, specifically Canada, and Asia, she said. Export sales to Asia “really helped us pull ahead in that category,” Clark added. “The U.S. overall has more of a focus on Mexico and Central America.,” she added. “It’s really about market mix and industry range, where exports are going, to what markets are performing well,” she said.

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