According to the latest international trade numbers, worldwide merchandise exports edged up 0.6 percent in November from the previous month to $1.4 trillion, seasonally adjusted, following a monthly increase of 0.2 percent in October.
On an annual basis, worldwide exports in November 2013 were 3.6 percent higher than in November 2012. This monthly data is compiled by the World Trade Organization based on information from 70 reporting countries that account for more than 90 percent of world trade and is adjusted for seasonal factors by e-forecasting.com.
For the United States, exports of goods rose in November by $1.5 billion, or 1.1 percent, to an all-time monthly high of $137.1 billion, adjusted for seasonal factors.
Looking at the state’s performance, foreign sales from Michigan's exporting companies leaped 8.5 percent in November from the previous month, following an increase of of 2 percent in October.
In November, $5.22 billionworth of goods were shipped from Michigan to foreign markets, which is $408.6 million more than the value of exports recorded in October.
Michigan’s numbers on exports are adjusted for seasonal variation by e-forecasting.com, a statistical process that smoothes out monthly statistics for factors such as the number of days in a month and holidays, thus making them comparable to the national and international numbers.
Manufactured goods led foreign sales, accounting for 86 percent of all state exports. Shipments abroad from Michigan’s manufacturers increased in November by 10.6 percent from the previous month to $4.49 billion, adjusted for seasonal variation.
On an annual basis, overseas sales from state factories were $86.5 million, or 2 percent higher than November of last year.
Exports of non-manufactured goods went down by 2.9 percent in November to $728.7 million, adjusted for seasonal variation. This group of shipments abroad consists of agricultural goods, mining products and re-exports, which are foreign goods that entered the state as imports and are exported in substantially the same condition.
During the January-November period of 2013, national exports of goods increased by an annual rate of 1.9 percent from the first 11 months of 2012, compared with annual growth rates of 4.4 percent in 2012 and 16.8 percent in 2011 over the same periods.
How did Michigan's companies fare in export growth, which in turn impacts local jobs and economic development? During the January-November period, exports of goods from Michigan, seasonally adjusted, increased by an annual rate of 3.4 percent from the same period of 2012. Consequently, Michigan ranked 19th in export growth among the states during the first 10 months of 2013.
The outlook over the next few months for exports of manufactured goods depends on the pace of incoming orders from foreign buyers. According to the December business survey conducted by the Institute of Supply Management, the nation’s purchasing executives continue to be optimistic about the prospects of selling their products abroad.
The Tempe, Ariz.-based research institute reported that its export indicator showed an expansion in incoming export orders for the 13th month in a row. However, the December reading also indicated orders from abroad were growing at a slower pace than in November.
In the December survey, from the pool of respondents of the largest manufacturers who sell their products abroad, 17 percent reported greater export orders from November; 76 percent reported no change in export orders from the previous month; and only 7 percent reported smaller export orders from November.
Evangelos Simos is chief economic adviser of the consulting and research firm e-forecasting.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.