N.H. exports continue 2011 swoon

Following a remarkably strong recovery in 2010, the growth of global trade has slowed down, according to the latest available monthly statistics on trade flows from around the globe.The growth in the volume of worldwide merchandise exports, measured by the World Trade Organization, reached an impressive peak of 14.1 percent in 2010, after a negative growth rate of 12.1 percent in 2009.On Sept. 23, the WTO scaled back its earlier 2011 forecast of 6.5 percent growth in worldwide exports. The organization now forecasts worldwide merchandise exports “to increase by 5.8% in volume terms in 2011.”Following a year of strong sales abroad, New Hampshire’s exporters now see the first signs of weakening in their orders from overseas as downside risks in foreign markets intensified in the last few months.In the latest trade numbers, $336.2 million worth of goods left New Hampshire for international markets in July, 1.3 percent less than June. The July total also was $25.9 million, or 7.1 percent, less than July 2010.Manufactured goods accounted for 75 percent of all exports. In July, they fell 3.3 percent, to $253.6 million, from June and were 6.6 percent lower than July 2010.Exports of non-manufactured goods rose 5.1 percent in July, to $82.6 million, adjusted for seasonal variation.Over the first seven months of 2011, New Hampshire exports have increased by an annual rate of 7.5 percent. As a result, the state ranked 42nd among the 50 fifty states in export growth.Nationally, exports rose 4.7 percent in July, to $126.9 billion. But through the first seven months of 2011, national exports of goods declined by an annual rate of 18.2 percent in comparison with the first seven months of 2010.Looking forward, leading economic indicators from around the world point to a weakening outlook for state exports. According to e-forecasting.com’s worldwide leading indicators, the risk of a new worldwide recession has increased. The 47-country composite declined 0.5 percent in July, for the fifth month in a row. Other long-term recession signals from the leading indicators now confirm that the risk of a worldwide recession has been substantially elevated.Evangelos Simos, chief economist of the consulting and research firm e-forecasting.com, is editor for international affairs at the Journal of Business Forecasting and professor of economics at the Whittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire. He may be reached at eosimos@e-forecasting.com.