U.S. aerospace sector poised for 2015 record trade surplus: group

Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:19pm EST
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By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. aerospace industry is expected to post a record trade surplus in 2015, buoyed by strong demand for U.S. commercial airplanes and weapons, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) said on Tuesday.

But the AIA, the sector's largest trade group, warned there were signs of an early slowdown in orders and monthly backlog. New orders for aerospace products have fallen 32 percent to $210.3 billion in the nine months ended September 2015 from a year earlier.

AIA Chief Executive Officer David Melcher told reporters the U.S. aerospace trade balance grew by $19 billion over the past five years to reach a record $62 billion in 2014, and was on track to top the record this year.

AIA said the sector exported $92 billion worth of manufactured goods in the first nine months of 2015, an increase of 5.8 percent from the same period of 2014. The total included $81.3 billion in civil aircraft, engines, parts and space systems, and $10.7 billion in military aerospace systems.

Imports also grew by 2.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2015 to $43.6 billion.

In remarks prepared for the group's annual year-end luncheon, Melcher lauded increased efforts by the U.S. Commerce Department and other government officials to promote U.S. aerospace and weapons trade, but said more was needed.

Melcher said the AIA had fought hard to revive the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which provides credit financing for U.S. aircraft and satellite exports among other things.

Congress reauthorized the bank for four years in December after a five-month shutdown that cost U.S. exporters hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and thousands of lost jobs, according to the export-import bank's chairman..   Continued...

David L. Joyce, President and CEO of GE Aviation, speaks during a panel discussion at 2015  International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Miami Beach, Florida, June 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper -