Missouri’s global vehicle sales drop 68% as Q2 exports plummet

Missouri exported $2.57 billion worth of goods in the second quarter of 2020, a decrease of 24.3% from the first quarter of the year and 23.5% from the same quarter last year, according to a report from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

The most significant export decline in the second quarter this compared to the same quarter last year was in the state’s motor vehicle industry, which saw exports shrink by about 68%. Total motor vehicle exports in the second quarter this year were about $190 million.

The state’s average quarterly motor vehicle export value over the last five years has been about $474 million. In the first quarter of 2020, motor vehicle exports had their fourth-best quarter in the last five years. However, the second quarter saw motor vehicle exports decline to the lowest level in at least 18 years.

Despite the decrease in total export value, six out of the top 10 Missouri exports experienced increases in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.

Cleaning compounds, soaps and toilet preparations have been constantly trending upward in export values. In the second quarter this year, their export value was about $78.7 million, which is a 21% rise from a year ago, marking the state’s largest export growth over that period. Most of these products were exported to Canada, which bought $48.9 million worth of compounds, soaps and toilet preparations.

The next big growth was in the basic chemicals industry, which saw export value expand by 19.7% in the second quarter compared to last year. The value of basic chemical exports for the quarter was about $268 million. Germany was the leading purchaser of those exports, buying $75.9 million worth.

Canada has been Missouri’s top buyer, and total exports to the country in the second quarter were about $789 million. That was a decrease of about $444 million from the first quarter of this year. In fact, it was Missouri’s lowest recorded export value to Canada since the first quarter of 2009. Average quarterly exports to Canada have exceeded $1 billion since at least 2002, when the data in the MERIC report begins.

Other top buyers of Missouri exports in the second quarter were Mexico, at $404 million, and China, at $177 million.

The countries with largest percentage increases in exports from the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter this year were South Korea (62%), Australia (30%), Ireland (24%), China (17%) and Germany (14%).

Increases in exports to South Korea were led by railroad rolling stock, motor vehicles, electric lighting equipment, and oilseeds and grains.


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