Pennsylvania companies exported fewer goods to eight of the commonwealth’s top 10 global markets in the first quarter, leading to a 10 percent drop in exports overall from the first quarter last year, according to the latest data from the International Trade Administration.
The ITA reported $8.9 billion in state exports for the first three months of the year, down from $9.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015.
The decline stems from global economic challenges, including spotty growth around the world. A strong U.S. dollar also hurts exports, said Tina Weyant, executive director of World Trade Center Harrisburg, a leading regional resource for trade assistance programs.
Still, exports to the U.K. and China posted increases in the first quarter. Exports to the U.K. totaled $622.5 million, up from $431.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. Shipments to China, which is the fourth-largest market for Pennsylvania, totaled $539.6 million, up from $470.1 million.
But exports to Canada, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Belgium, South Korea and Brazil fell in the first quarter compared with 2015.
Commonwealth exports have been on the decline in recent years after a record $41.2 billion in 2013. The ITA reported Pennsylvania exports of $40.4 billion in 2014 and $39.4 billion in 2015.
The top three markets for commonwealth exports are Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Canada, by far, is the largest market, accounting for about $2.5 billion of Pennsylvania’s first-quarter exports. Exports to Mexico totaled $876 million for the quarter.
The top three export categories in Pennsylvania are chemicals, which accounted for 22 percent of first-quarter exports, machinery and computer and electronic products. The latter two categories accounted for 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.