Machinery sales set the April pace for N.H. exports

Exports of goods made in the Granite State fell to $232.6 million in April, a 5 percent drop from March.

But were exporting companies better off in April of this year than a year ago? The latest numbers for sales abroad show that New Hampshire exporters fell behind their previous year’s monthly volume by $1 million, or 0.4 percent.

Exports of manufactured goods led April’s foreign sales, accounting for 83 percent of all exports. In April, shipments abroad from New Hampshire’s manufacturers decreased 6.8 percent from March to $193.5 million, seasonally adjusted.

Five exporting industries made up about three-fourths of all New Hampshire exports in April. Machinery – mainly printing and office equipment – was the state’s largest exporting industry, with $67 million in export revenues.

Electrical equipment – mostly sound equipment and integrated circuits – was the state’s second-largest export earner, generating $61 million in foreign sales in April. Optical and medical instruments were third, with shipments abroad of $23 million in April. The combined foreign sales of these three industries totaled $151 million — 65 percent of all state exports in April.

Plastics and iron and steel, rounded out the list of the top five exporting industries in April.

For the nation, exports of goods edged up by 0.1 percent in April to an all-time high again of $91.1 billion. U.S. exports of goods have hit record high levels in 10 of the last 12 months, and through the first four months of this year, national exports of goods grew by an impressive annual rate of 10.7 percent above the same period a year ago.

In comparison, overseas sales from New Hampshire companies increased by an annual rate of 3.4 percent, placing New Hampshire 36th among the 50 states.

However, forward-looking global indicators point to an improving outlook for New Hampshire exports.

According to the latest findings of the World Economic Survey, conducted in the second quarter of 2007 by the Ifo Institute of Economic Research at the University of Munich in cooperation with the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce and the European Commission, the current global economic climate remained at a high level and above its trend over the last 25 years.

Reporting the results of the survey, Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the research institute, said that, despite a slight weakening in the assessment about current economic conditions, the “expectations for the coming six months have improved further and point to a robust economic development in the second half of 2007.”

About 1,100 executives from 91 countries participated in the survey and, looking at the rest of 2007, they said they expect the global economy to continue growing but at a slightly slower pace than currently. They also said they anticipate the global volume of imports to increase significantly in the second half of 2007. A surge in imports is expected from the Arabian oil exporting countries, Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia and Australia.

Evangelos Simos, chief economist of the consulting and research firm Infometrica Inc., is editor for international affairs for the Journal of Business Forecasting, and department chair at the Whittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire. He can be reached at

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