2010 exports at an all-time N.H. high

New Hampshire exporters closed out 2010 with a surge of sales, recording an all-time monthly high of $447.3 million in exports, a jump of nearly $45 million from November.
The 11.1 percent surge in December followed an increase of 5.2 percent in the previous month.New Hampshire exports totaled $172.7 million – or 62.9 percent – more in December 2010 than in December of 2009.For all of 2010, exports of goods made in New Hampshire increased to their highest level on record – $4.368 billion, from $3.062 billion in 2009, the best year ever for New Hampshire’s exporting companies.The value of exports increased by 42.7 percent for the entire year, compared to an average increase of 20.6 percent for the nation as a whole. As a result, New Hampshire ranked first among the 50 states in export growth in 2010.The latest state numbers of international trade display a mix of overall economic conditions in the countries of foreign buyers and also their preferences – related to quality, design and price – for various goods made in New Hampshire from business equipment to consumer goods, parts and raw materials.Manufactured goods accounted for 77 percent of all sales abroad in December. Foreign shipments from New Hampshire’s factories increased in December by 25.5 percent from the previous month to $344.3 million.Exports of non-manufactured goods fell 19.7 percent in December to $103 million.Forward-looking indicators signal that international economic conditions- vital to export-related jobs in New Hampshire – are expected to improve in the rest of the year.The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based think-tank whose members include the world’s 30 richest countries, reported that the group’s combined leading economic indicator in December continued to provide signals of economic expansion.In particular, OECD’s leading indicator for the most advanced countries in the world – which tracks economic conditions six months in advance – increased 0.3 points in December 2010 and was 2.2 points higher than in December 2009.In the emerging large economies, which led the current global recovery, leading indicators are slowing down from recent high levels of economic performance. The leading indicator for China points to a downturn by decreasing 0.2 points in December 2010, posting a reading that is 3.4 points lower than a year ago.Similarly, the leading indicator for India declined in December by 0.5 points and its recent reading is 2.1 points lower than a year ago. The leading indicator for Brazil increased by 0.2 points in December and its leading indicator was 0.2 points higher than a year ago.In energy-rich Russia, the leading indicator increased by 0.4 points in December, thus its recent reading was 7.4 points higher than a year ago.The link of the state’s economy to global markets is expected to be less beneficial for overall economic development this year than in 2010.Evangelos Simos, chief economist of the consulting and research firm e-forecasting.com, is editor for international affairs for the Journal of Business Forecasting and professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire. He may be reached ateosimos@e-forecasting.com.