2nd Quarter 2012

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tennessee monthly imports graph

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tennessee leading trade partners graph
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Tennessee International Trade Report

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Asia was a mixed bag. Large cotton shipments led to a $76 million gain (14%) in China, and increased medical equipment and cotton-based pulp sales produced an even larger $111 million (29%) increase in Japan. Unfortunately, a good portion of that cotton was redirected from the Southeast Asian market. That shift, combined with a sizable drop in aircraft exports to Singapore and the Philippines, produced a net drop of more than $100 billion in exports to the ASEAN nations. Sales to Korea fell 10% as well. Even exports to Australia slipped, from $212 million to $199 million for the quarter.

Seen in context, the performance of the European market doesn't look so bad. Tennessee was basically treading water in the second quarter, with exports to the euro zone essentially unchanged (from $1 billion last year to $1.02 billion this time around). Shipments to the U.K. were surprisingly strong, gaining $34 million (to $245 million) thanks to increases in aircraft, computer parts, and medicaments. This was counterbalanced by a $19 million loss in the Nordic states and a $28 million loss in Turkey (the latter due to a large fall in cotton sales). Within the euro zone, only Germany and (oddly) Ireland posted strong numbers. The 16% growth in exports to Germany was by far the best showing on the European continent. It was matched by significant losses in France and Italy. The combined $43 million loss in these two markets more than exceeded Germany's $28 million gain.

An oddity for the quarter was the state's excellent showing in Iran. Though one might think that trade was totally embargoed, Tennessee exported more than $1 million to Iran in the second quarter. It was medical equipment (PET scanners) and presumably not on the embargo list!

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