JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: Furniture Exports Expand

U.S. exports of furniture rose for the 18th straight month through November on a year-over-year basis as demand from major markets continued and the U.S. dollar remained competitive. Exports advanced 8.1% year-over-year in November 2012 over November 2011 and totaled $879.6 million (deflated to January 2009 prices) in the month. Through November, exports were up by 12% and totaled $9.5 billion.

U.S. Furniture Exports 2010-2012

Canada is by far the largest market for U.S. furniture (H.S. code 94) exports, accounting for a 51.5% share in 2012 through November, up 0.3% from 2010. Exports to that market year-to-date were up 10 percent, a similar growth seen in 2011.Mexico is the second-largest market, accounting for a 51.5% share year-to-date, up notoriously by nearly 3 percentage points from 2010. Exports to that market were up 27% year-to-date, higher than the 20% growth seen in 2011. Other markets gaining share in the last three years were Germany, Australia and Venezuela.

The fifth-largest market, China, has seen its market share marginally decline in recent years as the economy decelerated but has maintained a double-digit growth demand for U.S. furniture. Wealthy Chinese believe in the quality and design of U.S.-made products, which explains why some U.S. furniture companies are strengthening business relationships in China. Ethan Allen’s CEO said in a recent WSJ interview that the company’s partner Markhor Furniture in China will increase the number of stores that carry Ethan Allen products to at least 100 within a year, up from 77. Demand from the United Kingdom has strengthened markedly in 2012 but not enough to gain market share.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

PIERS is the only source for transaction-level U.S. export data. To learn more about PIERS export data, visit www.piers.com/USExports.

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