Arizona exports up, sales down - East Valley Tribune: News

Arizona exports up, sales down

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Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 4:34 pm | Updated: 10:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Arizonans may be buying less. But people overseas are purchasing more of what is made here.

Figures Tuesday from the state Department of Commerce put total exports for the third quarter at more than $4.8 billion. That compares with less than $4.5 billion at the same time a year earlier.

Yet during the same three month period from July through September, sales within Arizona dropped 7.3 percent as reflected in sales tax receipts. These reflect the dollar value of taxable items - pretty much everything but food - sold at retail in the state.

The big reason for the difference apparently is the weak U.S. economy, specifically the low value of the dollar against foreign currencies.

"Other nations could still get a good buy for their money," said Pati Urias, Department of Commerce spokesman.

But Urias warned that there may not be a repeat performance when similar figures finally come in for the last three months of this year.

She said the chill in the U.S. economy has spread through much of the rest of the world, meaning they may not be purchasing as much from Arizona and the rest of the United States.

Urias said those figures will not be available until March.

The report also shows some variance in where Arizona goods are more popular.

Exports to Mexico, which is Arizona's largest trading partner, were up by more than 15 percent. China and France also registered large increases.

But Singapore, Germany and Japan bought less than the same period a year earlier. Urias said these "ebbs and flows" are not unusual.

Urias said some of that is directly related to the importing country's economy. But she said that changes in technology also can increase or decrease the demand for certain products.

Arizona's biggest type of exports, according to categories used by the U.S. Department of Commerce, remains electrical machinery, at nearly 36 percent of the total value. This includes integrated circuits manufactured by several Arizona companies.

But the value of these exports was down nearly 11 percent from the same time in 2007. Other machinery, ranging from office machines and computers to valves, comes in second at slightly more than 17 percent.

There was a sharp increase in the amount of copper ore exported elsewhere, though the value of finished copper products like wire and tubing declined.

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