Originally created 02/19/99

Exports fall, imports rise in quarter



ATLANTA -- Georgia exports dropped slightly during last year's third quarter, while imports rose dramatically, according to the latest figures.

The value of export shipping through the Port of Savannah decreased 21 percent, but it increased through Brunswick by 34 percent at the same time.

The state's combined exports totaled $3.58 billion, 2.2 percent lower than 1997's third quarter.

Manufactured exports represented the bulk of the decline, with a 2.2 percent slip that equaled $3.35 billion. Nonmanufactured exports slid 1.9 percent, to $224 million.

Still, exports for the first three quarters of 1998 rose 1.6 percent, ranking Georgia 14th among states in the value of its exports, according to government figures compiled by Wachovia Corp.

"Sharply declining sales to East Asia, as well as languishing exports to Latin America, resulted in declining Georgia exports in the third quarter," said D. Gary Thompson, Wachovia's chief executive in the state. "Slow export sales affected several key sectors, including machinery, electronics, paper and chemicals."

On the other side of the ledger, imports shot up 14.8 percent for an increase of $4.46 billion over the third quarter of the prior year.

Reduced exports and higher imports tipped the state's balance of trade further into deficit, by $888 million in the third quarter and $2.34 billion for the year to date.

Walter Jones is based in Atlanta and can be reached at (404) 589-8424 or mnews@mindspring.com.