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Alaska's Exports Continue Upward Trend
Seafood, Precious Metals Improvement Contribute to $106 Million Increase


December 24, 2003
Wednesday - 1:00 am

Juneau, AK - Alaska's sales of goods to foreign countries continued their upward trend in the third quarter of 2003, posting an increase of $106 million to $2.2 billion, up 5 percent over the same period last year.

The third quarter saw the value of the state's exports of seafood products rise by $54.5 million, and precious metals rise by $50 million, according to figures released by the Department of Community and Economic Development's Division of Trade and Development. That increase comes on the heels of a 13 percent surge in export numbers in the first half of 2003, compared to 1 percent decline in the first half of 2002.

"I'm very pleased to see these kinds of positive trade numbers, because expanding international trade brings new revenues to our state, creates jobs in our economy and provides hope for thousands of Alaskans across the state," said Governor Frank H. Murkowski. "It is continuing evidence that natural resources are the foundation of our prosperity."

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that every $1 billion dollars of exports creates 25,000 jobs in the local economy. Using these figures, international export growth in the first nine months of 2003 helped to contribute 2,650 new jobs for Alaskans.

"New jobs are created from international trade every step of the way, from preliminary scientific studies, to resource extraction, construction, distribution, marketing, sales, finance, and shipping the products to their final destination," said Margy Johnson, director of the department's Division of Trade & Development.

Seafood is Alaska's largest export, accounting for just over $1.2 billion in sales already this year. Fish roe is the largest export commodity with sales of $281 million in nine months, an increase of 10 percent over the same period last year. Frozen, non-fillets, of all species totaled $661 million, up 12 percent over 2002. Frozen cod sales were up 14 percent to $82 million, and sockeye salmon rose 4 percent to $76 million. Fillets of all species accounted for $400 million in exports.

The remaining top commodities exported include minerals, energy, fertilizers, wood products, and precious metals.

The minerals category is driven by zinc exports, which totaled over $234 million in the first nine months of the year. Lead added another $62 million in exports.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounts for $111 million of the total $211 million in energy exports. It is important to remember that 100 percent of the state's crude petroleum production is sold domestically to the United States, and therefore, is not included in these figures.

Rising demand for precious metals in global markets have helped boost exports. Higher prices for gold have added $53 million to Alaska's trade in nine months.

Fertilizer exports of urea and ammonia totaled $145 million, up 18 percent, and wood products are also experiencing a growth of 19 percent for a total of $97 million thus far in 2003.

The top destination for Alaska's commodities continues to be Japan, whose total imports of Alaskan products was $824 million through September of 2003. This is nearly a 9 percent decline over last year. Seafood represents 66 percent of the product mix sold to Japan, with energy comprising 21 percent, forest products 7 percent, and minerals 5 percent.

Korea remains in the second position and has shown the largest gains in dollar terms, rising 33 percent, with a $115 million increase over last year. Korea's total purchases of $468 million through September 2003 surpasses the entire year-end totals of 2002 by $51 million in just nine months. Seafood, fertilizers, minerals and forest products are Korea's primary imports.

Canada is Alaska's third-largest trading partner and has increased their purchases by 23 percent in 2003 for a total of $147 million in nine months. Seafood, zinc, lead, and forest products are the major commodities sold to Canada.

Trade with China, Alaska's fourth-largest export market thus far in 2003, has grown by 10 percent to a total of $140 million, mainly from improvements in seafood sales. Europe has an increasing interest in Alaska's exports, with 12 countries represented on the state's top-20 list of product destinations.

"Alaska is at the beginning of a new era for resource development and international exports," said Mark Edwards, state economist for the Department of Community and Economic Development. "The Murkowski Administration's goal of building the infrastructure required to improve access to our vast natural resources will help prepare us for future opportunities in world markets. Alaska's export sector and economy will benefit from these changes and continue to grow."



Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
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