Nicknamed “The Aloha State” and “Paradise of the Pacific” comprised of Polynesia’s northernmost group of islands within the central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii shipped US$447 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -32.3% reduction from 2018 to 2019 and a -43.8% decline since 2016.
Hawaii is America’s smallest exporter by state well behind front-runners Texas, California, New York and Washington state. The value of Hawaii’s exports equals just 0.03% worth of United States’ overall exported products for 2019.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Hawaii’s exported products equates to a tiny 0.5% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product one year earlier ($93.4 billion for 2018 based on current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Hawaii’s population of 1.416 million people, its total $447 million in 2019 exports translates to roughly $320 for every resident in the Aloha State.
Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 2.6% at December 2019, down from 2.8% in April 2019 per YCharts.
Hawaii’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Hawaii global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Hawaii.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Light petroleum oils: US$71 million (15.9% of Hawaii’s total exports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $57 million (12.7%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $50 million (11.3%)
- Iron or steel scrap: $33 million (7.5%)
- Cold-water shrimps, prawns: $21 million (4.8%)
- Unsweetened and non-flavored waters: $14 million (3.1%)
- Macadamia nuts: $12 million (2.8%)
- Specially designed instruments, apparatus: $11 million (2.4%)
- Aluminum waste, scrap: $11 million (2.4%)
- Petroleum bitumen: $9 million (2%)
Hawaii’s top 10 exports approached two-thirds (64.9%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Specially designed instruments and apparatus represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 37.5% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were macadamia nuts, a product category which appreciated by 33.3%. The only other top category to increase year over year was for the aircraft including engines and other parts via a 6.4% improvement.
Leading the year-over-year decliners among Hawaii’s top 10 export products were miscellaneous petroleum oils (down -70.8%), light petroleum oils (down -34.3%) then iron or steel scrap (down -28.3%).
More Key Facts
Overall, Hawaii incurred a -$3.34 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -13.6% year-over-year reduction from -$3.86 billion in red ink for 2018.
Another way of saying surplus or deficit is positive or negative net exports. In a nutshell, the term “net exports” quantifies the amount by which foreign spending on a state’s goods or services exceeds or lags that same state’s spending on foreign goods or services.
Below are Hawaii’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2019.
- Crude petroleum oils: $1.6 billion (41.5% of Hawaii’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $462 million (12.2%)
- Light petroleum oils: $287 million (7.6%)
- Large aircraft: $162 million (4.3%)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $143 million (3.8%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $93 million (2.5%)
- Liquified propane: $40 million (1.1%)
- Tuna, skipjack: $30 million (0.8%)
- Passenger vehicles (with internal combustion/electrical engine): $30 million (0.8%)
- Jewelry articles clad in precious metal: $25 million (0.7%)
Hawaii has highly negative net exports in the international trade of petroleum oils, particularly unprocessed petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Hawaii’s competitive disadvantages under those product categories.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase four-fifths (79.6%) worth of the total value of products exported from Hawaii during 2019.
- Japan: $94.2 million (21.1% of Hawaii’s total exports)
- South Korea: $76.1 million (17%)
- Singapore: $44.1 million (9.9%)
- Vietnam: $33 million (7.4%)
- China: $21.1 million (4.7%)
- Australia: $20.2 million (4.5%)
- India: $20 million (4.5%)
- Canada: $16 million (3.6%)
- Malaysia: $15.9 million (3.6%)
- Taiwan: $15 million (3.4%)
Hawaii’s top trade partners in Asia consume almost three-quarters (72.4%) of the overall value of exported goods from the Aloha State.
Hawaii Export Companies
Two Hawaii-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Listed below are both firms that have their headquartered in Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu.
- Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (airliner for passengers, cargo)
- Hawaiian Electric Industries (electricity)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the products or services which in each business deals, some of which are international trade-related.
Hawaii’s capital is Honolulu, a city nicknamed “Crossroads of the Pacific” and “Sheltered Bay”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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