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Monthly Update: Foreign Trade

July '21, latest data
Published on 10/1/21
Monthly Update: Foreign Trade

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The Houston-Galveston Customs District handled 199.6 million metric tons of goods and commodities in the first seven months of ’21, a 13.9 percent increase over the comparable period in ’20. These shipments were valued at $144.0 billion, up 25.8 percent from ’20. This year-over-year increase was largely due to growth in three commodities: mineral fuels, oil, and refined products; organic chemicals; and motor vehicles and parts. 

The ongoing global recovery is driving demand for Houston’s exports. Mineral fuels, Houston’s top commodity for both exports and imports, increased in export volume by 2.6 percent but declined in import volume by 15.6 percent. 

Higher demand has boosted prices and lifted the overall value of fuel exports. July’s year-to-date trade value for mineral fuels was nearly 19 billion dollars higher than the same period in ’20.

Exports of organic chemicals rose in volume and value during the first seven months of ’21. While the export volume marginally increased, the value jumped by nearly $2.0 billion. Chemical plant shutdowns due to extreme weather earlier in ’21 affected global supply and thus drove up prices. 

Both the import and export value of motor vehicles and parts surged compared to the same period from last year. In addition to weaker demand, temporary production shutdowns and manufacturing delays during ’20 hampered trade numbers. In ’21, consumers encouraged by the economic recovery purchased vehicles at record high prices, increasing the value of autos and their components. 

Heath Duran
Manager, Research

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research


International Business Key Economic Indicators Foreign Trade
$199.6 billion

Houston handled $199.6 billion of shipments year-to-date.

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