State exports show first decline in three years

Indiana exports slipped slightly last year, marking the first decrease in three years and only the second decline this century, according to a report released Tuesday by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

State exports fell 0.7 percent, to $34.2 billion, in 2013, the report said. It was the first decline for the Indiana since 2009. Before that, exports had risen annually since 2002.

Exports grew by 2.2 percent nationally and by 1.2 percent in the Midwest in 2013.

"Indiana hit a speed bump in 2013, ending a three-year period of solid growth," wrote Timothy Slaper, co-writer of the report.

Slaper said Indiana’s export market recovered faster than most states after the recession, but “recent anemic economic growth in the Eurozone and weaker-than-expected growth in several emerging economies put a damper on Indiana's exports in 2013."

"Most of the countries for which Indiana exports have been declining—the United Kingdom, France and Germany, for example—have been experiencing overall lackluster economic performance," he said.

Canada remained the largest market for Indiana in 2013, accounting for 34.6 percent of the state's exports. Mexico came in second place, at 11.7 percent.

Germany was third at 5.6 percent, followed by Japan and France.

Weak economic growth is expected across much of Europe, the report said.

"If the weak—perhaps negative—economic growth that is expected in most of the Eurozone continues, it will reduce demand for exports, including those from Indiana," the report said. "On the upside, Canada and Mexico are Indiana's primary markets."

China continued to be an increasingly important destination for Indiana exports. The value of Hoosier exports to China has risen by 475 percent over the past 10 years, the report said.

A total of 115 countries imported goods from Indiana in 2013, but only 31 nations had export values of more than $100 million.

Vehicles and parts made up the biggest export category, at $7.6 billion, followed by pharmaceutical products at $6.3 billion.

The full report can be found here.

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