A weaker dollar drove up exports at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in November, according to figures released by the ports on Tuesday. Overall traffic remained down, however.

The amount of goods leaving Los Angeles rose by 18 percent, and Long Beach numbers increased 4 percent from the same month last year.

The news on the exports was a welcome respite from the bleak reports of the past year.

“It’s a silver lining to the overall numbers,” said Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield. “We are seeing more exports because the U.S. dollar is weak, which makes U.S. goods more competitively priced, and there are signs of an economic recovery with our trade partners in Asia.”

Sanfield said the increase of exports is a good indication that the economy is on the rebound. Exports are usually raw materials such as metal and cotton used for manufacturing overseas and are sent back as finished goods.

Total traffic, which includes both imports and empty containers shipped out for later use, was down 20 percent at Long Beach and 12 percent at Los Angeles. Port officials attributed the decline to shipping lines that downsized their vessels or sent fewer ships due to less consumer demand.

In Long Beach, 448,151 cargo container units were handled in November compared to 557, 459 in November 2008.

In Los Angeles, 580,206 units shipped through the port in November, down from 660,046.

In Long Beach, November’s 4 percent rise in exports was the first increase this year; 114,283 cargo container units shipped out.

“It’s the first increase since before the economic crisis began last year,” said Art Wong, a Port of Long Beach spokesman.

Los Angeles preceded Long Beach in the increase of exports, reporting its first rise of the year in October, when exports were up by 12 percent.

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