State exports down more than 7 percent this year

Strong dollar, weak oil prices blamed for drop

wisconsin exports

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

A strong dollar and low oil prices have combined to drive Wisconsin exports down by more than 7 percent through the first 10 months of the year, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data.

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Nearly $15.3 billion in manufactured goods were exported through the end of October compared with $16.5 billion during the same period in 2015.

The 7.2 percent drop is larger than the 6.6 percent drop in exports of manufactured commodities throughout the country. Wisconsin’s total export figure is down 7.3 percent while the country is down 4.8 percent.

Katy Sinnott, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. vice president of international business development, said instability in the European Union has contributed to a strong dollar, making U.S. goods more expensive for customers abroad. Germany is the sixth largest destinations for Wisconsin exports.

Sinnott also noted weak oil prices over the last few years have driven demand for large industrial equipment down. That category is among the state’s top exports.

She did say there have been some bright spots for Wisconsin’s exports. Centrifuges and filters were up 76 percent over last year and ball bearings were up 110 percent. Exports to Japan also jumped 5.9 percent because of strength in the yen and exports to the United Kingdom were up 9.2 percent due in part to goods in the aviation and aerospace industry.

“Wisconsin also can expect to experience an increase in exports of medical-related equipment and pharmaceuticals as countries like China and India start to improve upon and invest in their health industry,” Sinnott said.

She also noted the state’s exports have been trending up, increasing 13 percent from 2010 to 2015, with double-digit increases in exports to Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the United Kingdom.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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