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Monthly Update: Foreign Trade

September '21, latest data
Published on 11/19/21
Monthly Update: Foreign Trade

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The Houston-Galveston Customs District handled 258.9 million metric tons of goods and commodities in the first nine months of ’21, a 1.7 percent increase over the comparable period in ’20. These shipments were valued at $192.2 billion, up 32.5 percent from ’20. This year-over-year increase was largely due to growth in value of 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 4.0 percent but declined in import volume by 10.1 percent. 

Higher demand has boosted prices and lifted the overall value of fuel exports. September's year-to-date trade value for mineral fuels was nearly 30 billion dollars higher than the same period in ’20.

Exports of organic chemicals rose in volume and value during the first nine months of ’21. While the export volume marginally increased, the value jumped by over $4.0 billion. Chemical plant shutdowns due to extreme weather earlier in ’21 affected global supply and thus drove up prices. 

Motor vehicles and parts increased by both value and volume compared to the same period from last year. In addition to weaker demand, temporary production shutdowns and manufacturing delays during ’20 hampered trade numbers. The ongoing semiconductor shortage has also limited supply. 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


Foreign Trade International Business Key Economic Indicators
$192.2 billion

Houston handled $192.2 billion of shipments year-to-date.

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