Sponsored by Lane Powell

Weak dollar a mixed blessing

| Print |  Email
Archives - February 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008

t_dollar sign 0980

STATEWIDE There’s a basic rule of thumb when it comes to U.S. industries and a weak dollar: Exporters benefit (their goods are cheaper for other countries to buy), and importers suffer (they pay more for foreign goods).

For Oregon, where exports grew 24% between 2005 and 2006 to $15.3 billion, that should be a good thing. But it’s not that simple. Nor is it a simple question whether the weak dollar — down nearly 11% over 2007 and predicted to drop even further this year — is helping or hurting Oregon.

pdf

e-sources

Oregon's top 25 export industries by dollar amount, 2000-2005

• Oregon's top 25 export partners, 2000-2005, with ranking by percentage of total exports


• Oregon Economic and Community Development Department's analysis of Oregon's foreign exports between 2005 and 2006

Some of the state’s top export industries are riding high. Agriculture products, which make up 10% of the state’s exports, are doing extremely well, says Department of Agriculture spokesperson Bruce Pokarney. “We ship about 40% to the international market. It’s very significant,” he says. The metals and software industries are also strong, according to anecdotal accounts by industry groups.

But exports by the computer and electronic product industries — 40% of the state’s exports — are flat, says state economist Tom Potiowsky. Forest products and transportation manufacturing exporters aren’t benefiting either.

One reason is that no company only imports or exports; the ratio between the two could hurt even the largest exporter. Further complicating the question, says Randall Pozdena — senior economist at ECONorthwest and former vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco — are things such as industry regulations that limit quick response to market conditions, or China’s growth and its impact on manufacturing around the world.

So what does the weak dollar mean for Oregon? There are myriad economic forces and factors at play, making it nearly impossible to say what the weak currency will do.

Pozdena offers one possibility: When the traded-goods sector booms, it pulls resources, like employees, from the non-traded sectors with potentially broad impacts across industries, like job loss. “If you happen to live in an economic community that’s heavily construction-oriented, the sucking sound will be even stronger,” he says.

Potiowsky maintains that, as a whole, the weak dollar isn’t a bad thing. It’s a result of the dollar correcting itself after being at high levels for a long time, he says. “And without us having to do anything, it’s almost like having a productivity gain.”

ABRAHAM HYATT



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...

Finding a Balance

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 29, 2015
012915-passinvst-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Active vs. passive investing: what you need to know.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...

Chronicling Gov. Kitzhaber's march to resignation

The Latest
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
021115-kitzhaber-jekaplan14-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Recapping a wild week featuring plenty of will he or won't he resign drama.


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS