Manufactured exports from district states remained level in 1999
with a 0.4 percent decrease after dropping 6 percent in 1998. Improving
economic conditions in Asia and gains in exports to Mexico provided
strength to overall exports. However, the district's primary export
destinations, Canada and Europe, and primary export industries,
machinery and computer equipment, remained flat in 1999. Exports
from South Dakota increased over 5 percent, the highest district
state increase, while North Dakota finished with the largest decrease
at 10 percent.
As economic conditions in Asia improved during 1999, district manufactured
exports to Asia showed signs of recovery, with a 2 percent increase
after dropping 17 percent in 1998. In 1999, gross domestic product
(GDP) increased 9 percent and 13 percent respectively in Hong Kong
and South Korea, and remained level in Japan. GDP the previous year
dropped 5 percent in Hong Kong, 6 percent in South Korea and 2 percent
Increased growth in Asia boosted exports to several regions, including
a 50 percent hike in exports from North Dakota to Japan, primarily
due to gains in food and kindred products. South Dakota exports
to newly industrialized countries (NICs) jumped 44 percent. The
Chinese market purchased over 100 percent more exports from Montana
and about 50 percent more exports from Wisconsin and North Dakota,
attributed to increased exports in machinery and computer equipment.
Exports to developing markets strengthen
Manufactured exports to several developing markets strengthened
in 1999. Exports to Mexico increased over 80 percent for Montana,
the state's second largest export destination, and rose over 20
percent for Minnesota and South Dakota. Exports from North Dakota
and Montana to Central America increased 150 percent and 84 percent
respectively. Montana sent 400 percent more exports to Africa due
to strong increases in exports from primary metal industries.
Primary destinations finish weak
Manufactured exports to the large markets of Canada and Europe
finished weak in 1999, as district exports to Canada increased 2
percent and exports to Europe dropped 2 percent. Exports to Canada
decreased over 20 percent for North Dakota. Exports to Europe slid
47 percent in Montana and 6 percent in Wisconsin. Some of the softness
in exports to Europe may be attributed to a weaker Euro relative
to the U.S. dollar, which makes district exports more expensive
abroad. In 1999, the Euro decreased in value relative to the U.S.
dollar by 13 percent.
Machinery, computer equipment down
Machinery and computer equipment, which comprises one-third of
district manufactured exports, posted a lackluster performance in
1999, as exports dropped for Montana, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
However, increased exports from smaller industries helped recoup
these losses. Exports of food and kindred products increased almost
80 percent in Montana, 30 percent in North Dakota and 13 percent
in South Dakota. Paper and allied products grew in all states, including
a 185 percent increase in North Dakota, spurred by a jump in exports
to Mexico, and an almost 70 percent gain in Montana, largely due
to increases to Canada.