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MN exports reach all time high this quarter

Minnesota exports of agricultural, mining and manufactured products reached a first-quarter record of $4.9 billion, up 2 percent from the same period a year ago, according to figures released recently by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Manufacturing represented the largest share of state exports during the quarter, ringing up $4.5 billion in sales, also up 2 percent from a year ago.

Asia was the state's largest export region, accounting for 35 percent of all sales, followed by North America (33 percent) and the European Union (20 percent).

"Minnesota exports remain on a steady growth trajectory, posting their sixth consecutive quarterly record," said Katie Clark, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. "Minnesota companies continue to attract new business overseas, which creates opportunities for them to expand and add jobs back home."

The state's best quarter ever for exports was $5.3 billion in the second quarter of 2011, and total exports last year for Minnesota manufactured, mining and agricultural products were a record $20.3 billion.

Canada was the state's strongest country market in the first quarter of 2012 with $1.3 billion in exports, up 2 percent from the same period last year.

Other top markets were China ($550 million, down 1 percent), Japan ($352 million, up 6 percent), Mexico ($331 million, up 24 percent), South Korea ($206 million, up 26 percent), Germany ($175 million, down 12 percent), Belgium ($165 million, up 13 percent), United Kingdom ($160 million, up 17 percent), Singapore ($135 million, down 4 percent) and the Philippines ($132 million, up 9 percent).

The largest Minnesota export was machinery ($1 billion, up 10 percent), with the most growth occurring in that sector in computer components (up 46 percent), machinery for manufacturing semiconductors (up 110 percent) and liquid- or sand-dispersing equipment (up 20 percent).

Other top 10 exports were optic and medical instrument ($781 million, up 10 percent), electrical machinery ($609 million, down 9 percent), vehicles ($370 million, down 5 percent), plastic ($280 million, no change), food waste and animal feed ($104 million, down 15 percent), meat ($99 million, up 8 percent), cereals ($96 million, up 23 percent), aircraft and spacecraft ($80 million, down 30 percent), and ores, slag and ash ($76 million, up 218 percent).

The full first-quarter report is available at