Governor Sean Parnell announced Alaska's 2011 exports increased 26.1 percent to $5.2 billion, the highest annual export value ever. Alaska had topped the $5 billion mark in annual export value for the first time ever earlier this year. The state's 2010 exports were $4.2 billion.
"The wealth of Alaska's natural resources has translated into the highest export numbers ever for our state," said Governor Parnell. "Alaskans work hard to harvest and produce these materials and our industries are smart in marketing around the world. The strong international work by industry and by state agencies, like the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, are reaping benefits for Alaskans across the state."
Most exports grew in value to volume comparisons: seafood, mineral ores, forest products, and precious metals. In 2011, the value of Alaska's seafood exports grew 35.1 percent to $2.5 billion, and mineral ores increased 31.7 percent to $1.8 billion. Precious metals, primarily gold, were up 24.7 percent to $266.4 million. Forest products exports increased 1.9 percent to $119.3 million. Energy exports decreased 7.3 percent to $387.7 million, in line with changes at the Kenai liquefied natural gas plant.
2011 marks the first year that China topped the list of Alaska's export markets with a 56.2 percent increase to $1.4 billion total. The 2011 exports to China comprised seafood at $836.1 million, mineral ores at $480.1 million, forest products at $57.5 million, fish meal at $47.4 million, $12 million in energy, and $5.9 million in other categories. Exports to Japan totaled $1.1 billion, to Korea $644 million, to Canada $583.9 million, to Germany $261.1 million, to Switzerland $252.9 million, and to Spain $205.6 million.
As in 2010, two countries in 2011 accounted for more than half of Alaska's seafood exports: China and Japan. The top ten countries importing Alaska seafood were China at $836.1 million, Japan at $589.2 million, Korea at $303.6 million, Germany at $201.4 million, the Netherlands at $159.4 million, Canada at $89.5 million, France at $46.3 million, Thailand at $34.6 million, Spain at $33.8 million, and Portugal at $30.3 million. Alaska's seafood exports to Europe in 2011 constituted 22.2 percent of total seafood exports, while 2010 seafood exports to Europe accounted for 20.8 percent.
The value of Alaska's $1.8 billion mineral ore exports included $1.4 billion of zinc and lead ores from one of the world's largest zinc mines, Red Dog, as well as $199.3 million of Canadian copper ore exported via the Port of Skagway and $142.1 million of gold ore concentrate. In another category, precious metal exports such as doré added another $265.4 million to Alaska's total exports. Export of precious stones added nearly one million dollars to the same category.
Pacific Rim countries long have been markets for Alaska's energy. In 2011, Alaska's total energy exports were $387.7 million, which included liquefied natural gas, refined petroleum products, and coal. Japan accounted for $198.2 million of natural gas, and China for $12 million, while more than $66 million in additional energy exports are reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Coal exports of $30.8 million consisted of $20.8 million to Chile, $5.3 million to Japan, $4.7 million to Korea, and $67,564 to Mexico. Refined petroleum product exports, primarily to Canada, totaled $80 million.
Forest products exports reached their highest mark in seven years, $119.3 million, mostly to China, Japan, Korea, Canada and Taiwan.
The source of the Alaska export values is the U.S. Census Bureau. The numbers do not reflect Alaska resources first transported to and warehoused in other U.S. states before export. For more information, contact Associate Director for International Trade Patricia Eckert at (907) 269-7450.