Louisiana’s Top 10 Exports

Louisiana state flag courtesy of FlagPictures.org

Louisiana state flag

Nicknamed the “Pelican State” or the “Bayou State” and found in America’s southeastern region, Louisiana shipped US$56.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents a 16.7% increase from 2016 to 2017 but a -12.8% downturn since 2014.

Louisiana is America’s seventh-biggest exporter by state well behind front-runners Texas, California and Washington state. The value of Louisiana’s exports equals 3.8% of United States’ overall exported products for 2017.

Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Louisiana’s exported products represent 27.5% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2016. The latter real dollar values were expressed in 2009 chained dollars, according to the BEA.

Given Louisiana’s population of 4.684 million people, its total $56.5 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $12,100 for every resident in the Bayou State.

Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 4.4% as of March 2018 per YCharts.

Louisiana’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Louisiana global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Louisiana.

Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.

  1. Miscellaneous petroleum oils: US$13.4 billion (23.8% of Louisiana’s total exports)
  2. Soya beans: $10.7 billion (18.9%)
  3. Corn: $4.2 billion (7.4%)
  4. Light petroleum oils: $3.5 billion (6.1%)
  5. Natural gas (liquid): $2.7 billion (4.8%)
  6. Crude petroleum oils: $2.2 billion (3.9%)
  7. Solid residues including soya bean oil-cake: $1.7 billion (3%)
  8. Polyvinyl chloride: $761 million (1.3%)
  9. Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda): $557 million (1%)
  10. Wheat (excluding durum): $492 million (0.9%)

Louisiana’s top 10 exports accounted for 71.1% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.

Liquid natural gas was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 185.5% from 2016.

In second place for improving export sales was sodium hydroxide (also known as caustic soda) which appreciated 129.2%.

Louisiana’s shipments of crude petroleum oils posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 121.3%.

The leading decliner among Louisiana’s top 10 export products was corn which fell by -7.4% year over year.

More Key Facts

Overall, Louisiana incurred an $18.9-billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 17.9% year-over-year increase from $16 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2016.

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 Louisiana’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2017.

  1. Crude petroleum oils: $15.9 billion (42.4% of Louisiana’s total exports)
  2. Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $4.9 billion (13.1%)
  3. Unalloyed aluminum (unwrought): $1.5 billion (4.0%)
  4. Copper cathodes (unwrought): $875 million (2.3%)
  5. Unroasted caffeinated coffee: $714 million (1.9%)
  6. Urea: $674 million (1.8%)
  7. Light petroleum oils: $430 million (1.1%)
  8. Potassium chloride: $387 million (1%)
  9. Palm oil: $350 million (0.9%)
  10. Monoammonium phosphate fertilizers: $338 million (0.9%)

Louisiana has highly positive net exports in the international trade of soya beans, corn and liquid natural gas. In turn, these cashflows indicate Louisiana’s strong competitive advantages under these product categories on the global marketplace.


The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase 58.3% worth of the total value of products exported from Louisiana during 2017.

  1. China $8 billion (14.1% of Louisiana’s total exports)
  2. Mexico $7.4 billion (13.1%)
  3. Netherlands $3 billion (5.2%)
  4. Brazil $2.7 billion (4.8%)
  5. Canada $2.67 billion (4.7%)
  6. Japan $2.65 billion (4.7%)
  7. Colombia $2.25 billion (4%)
  8. South Korea $1.8 billion (3.1%)
  9. Singapore $1.4 billion (2.4%)
  10. Chile $1.2 billion (2.2%)

Louisiana’s top trade partners in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore) consume a combined 24.3% of the value for goods shipped from the Bayou State in 2017. This compares with 17.8% worth that was sent from Louisiana to its North American trade partners, Canada and Mexico.


Louisiana Export Companies

Four of the corporations located in Louisiana rank among Fortune 1000 Companies in 2017, a list that includes America’s largest businesses.

  • Albemarle Corporation (specialty chemicals)
  • CenturyLink (telecommunications)
  • Entergy Corp (electricity, natural gas)
  • POOLCORP (swimming pool supplies)

Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products (or services) in which each business deals.

Louisiana’s capital is Baton Rouge, the city nicknamed “B.R.” and the “Red Stick” (the latter a translation for le bâton rouge in French).

See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances

Research Sources:
Department of Numbers, Louisiana GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on May 1, 2018

FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on May 1, 2018

Forbes, 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 1, 2018

GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List for 2016 , Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on May 1, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 1, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 1, 2018

United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on April 28, 2018

United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Louisiana. Accessed on May 1, 2018

Wikipedia, Louisiana. Accessed on May 1, 2018

Wikipedia, Category:Companies based in Louisiana. Accessed on May 1, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Baton Rouge, United States. Accessed on May 1, 2018

YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on May 1, 2018