Alaska exports totaled $3.3 billion in 2009, marking the fifth best year for trade in state history, said a press release from Gov. Sean Parnell's office.
Things didn't look so positive for exports at the beginning of last year, as first quarter exports were down nearly 30 percent from the first quarter of 2008, the release said.
Fourth-quarter results faired far better; exports went up 12.3 percent from a year earlier.
"Alaskans work hard every day to harvest our resources and produce our exports," Parnell said in the release. "I'm emphasizing improvements in education, workforce development and transportation infrastructure, and that should prepare us to compete and succeed in international opportunities in the future."
Even so, Alaska still lagged behind the previous year overall, with an 8.1 percent decrease in exports from 2008 to 2009, the press release said.
Nationally, exports declined 17.9 percent, with 46 other states posting greater decreases in export value than Alaska.
While seafood and energy exports declined in that period, minerals, precious metals and forest products all saw increased export values.
The state's zinc and lead ore exports increased by 33.5 percent from the 2008 value, coming to $784.7 million. Red Dog mine is the world's largest zinc mine, and accounts for more than three-fourths of all U.S. zinc and lead ore exports, the release said. Korea, Canada, Spain, Japan, China, Italy, Finland, Belgium, Australia and Germany all imported Alaska ore.
Precious metal exports went up 6 percent to $152.6 million. Some $146.6 million of gold went to Switzerland, and $5.1 million of gold went to Canada.
Exports of coal went up 42.8 percent to $33.1 million, and liquefied natural gas accounted for $256.7 million. Liquefied natural gas has been shipped to Japan on a regular basis for more than 40 years, the release said. Pacific Rim countries are key markets for Alaska's energy exports, according to the release.
Refined petroleum product exports fell 70 percent to $38.4 million, a figure the release blames on the international economic crisis. Reduced jet fuel demand as a result of scaled-back flights between Anchorage and Asia left the market for refined petroleum in the tank.
Forest products saw an export increase of 5.5 percent to $87.8 million. Seafood exports fell 9.8 percent to $1.6 billion.
Parnell's office drew these numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the release, the numbers don't account for Alaska resources transported to and warehoused in other U.S. states before export.