2nd Quarter 2014

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It was the fourth successive quarter over $8 billion.

International Trade Report

by Steven G. Livingston | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Tennessee exporters had a solid second quarter. State exports were up 6.1% from a year ago to $8.45 billion. This ranked 19th among state performances and well above America's overall 3.3% export growth. This growth, though, hides a lot of volatility. Fifteen of the state's 50 largest export sectors (in the 4-digit HS) gained 20% or more in the value of their foreign shipments. Seventeen others saw their exports fall. The latter included some of Tennessee's largest industries. Cotton exports declined nearly $100 million, and artificial filament tow was off more than $30 million. These losses were concentrated in Asia, particularly China and Indonesia. Earth-moving equipment exports declined by nearly a third. Several auto-related industries also had a tough quarter, including internal combustion engines, off nearly $60 million, and tires, down by about $20 million.

These losses meant there was a lot of ground to be made up. Leading the way was another spectacular performance by the state's car and SUV exporters. With Nissan and Volkswagen dominating, passenger vehicle exports soared from $394 million to $732 million for the quarter. That remarkable gain exceeded the combined losses of all 17 sectors noted above. Once again, the growth was global, with large increases in shipments not only within NAFTA but to Australia, Colombia, China, and South Korea. Of the state's major auto markets, only the Gulf states did not ramp up their purchases.

No other export industry had quite the quarter that cars did, but several forged significant gains. After several rough patches over the past couple of years, laptop and PC shipments gained just over 20% for the quarter (to $508 million). Most of these additional sales were in Mexico or Canada, but nice gains were made in China as well. Aircraft part shipments were up by a third. Brazil, France, and China accounted for most of those gains. Exports of cellular phone equipment were up by a fifth ($177 million) thanks to gains in NAFTA and South America (Brazil and Argentina). Plastic and chemical exporters had a strong quarter, led by increased polyester and pigment shipments. Medical equipment, the state's second largest export industry (behind cars), faced tough markets in Japan and Europe but still eked out a $23 million gain globally.


Tennessee monthly exports


Tennessee's Monthly Imports