N.H. exports dove 19.1% in May

In the last two years, strong foreign demand for American goods – driven by a weak dollar and robust growth in the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America – has significantly contributed to New Hampshire's economic development and job growth. Exports have acted as cushion to anemic and fragile domestic demand for goods made by local companies.

In the first five months of the year, foreign sales from New Hampshire's companies increased by an annual rate of 12.1 percent compared with the first five months in 2010.

But, looking at the latest state snapshot of international trade numbers, New Hampshire's foreign sales plunged in May by 19.1 percent compared to April, when a 5.8 percent increase in exports was recorded. New Hampshire's exporters sold $347 million in goods in May.

Compared with a year ago, however, New Hampshire's exporting companies surpassed their export performance by $4.4 million, or 1.3 percent.

Overseas shipments from New Hampshire's manufacturers – which accounted for 77 percent of all exports – decreased to $267.1 million, seasonally adjusted – 18.5 percent less than April's level of factory shipments abroad.

Exports of non-manufactured goods fell 21.3 percent, to $79.9 million, in May.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund predicts economic growth in the industrial countries will be 2.5 percent during 2011-12, a modest deceleration from an average of about 3 percent in 2010. In 2011, growth in industrial countries is expected to slow down to an annual rate of 2.4 percent.

The IMF forecasts economic growth for emerging and developing countries – the group includes China, India and Brazil – to hit 6.5 percent during 2011-12, compared with 7.5 percent in 2010.

The IMF also forecasts the volume of global trade to grow by 8.2 percent in 2011 and to slow to 6.2 percent in 2012. Trade increased by 12.4 percent in 2010.

Evangelos Simos, chief economist of the consulting and research firm e-forecasting.com and editor for international affairs for the Journal of Business Forecasting, is a professor at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. He can be reached at eosimos@e-forecasting.com.

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