U.S. book exports slipped by less than 1% in the first six months of 2003, to $769.7 million, according to estimates from the U.S. Commerce Department. The flat performance was the result of a significant decline in exports to Pacific Rim countries balanced by modest gains to America's English-language book markets. While exports were flat, imports of books rose 9.7% in the first half of 2003, to $764.5 million.
Exports to Canada, the largest book market, rose 5%, to $339.4 million, in the first half of the year, while shipments to the U.K. increased 4.9%, to $129.7 million. Exports to Australia increased 11.8%, to $37 million. Exports were down to almost all Asian countries including a 15.9% decline in exports, to $45.6 million, to Japan. Exports also fell by double digits in Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Exports to Singapore inched up 0.8%. A major exception to the downward trend in Asia was China, where exports jumped 52%, to $7.7 million. Sluggish economies in many Asian countries is seen as the major reason for the decline in exports.
The increase in imports was led by a 22.4% increase, to $149.5 million, in books imported from the U.K. The gain put the U.K. back into the top spot as the major source of books imported into the U.S., overtaking China. Imports from China rose 11.6%, to $146.5 million. Rounding out the top five sources of imports, shipments from Canada rose 13.6%, to $128 million, imports from Hong Kong increased 0.6%, to $85.3 million and imports from Singapore fell 2.2%, to $42.9 million.
U.S. Book Exports, January—June 2002—2003
($ in millions)
|Total, Top 15||$688.5||$685.1||-0.5%|
|Source: U.S. Commerce Department |