But China was hardly alone as a tough market. The rest of East Asia also did poorly. Exports to Japan were down almost 10% (to $409 million), thanks to declines in various medical related exports, which today account for most of the state's exports to that country (along with automotive products, of course). South Korea was no better. State exports there were off more than 10% as well. Shipments to Southeast Asia were similarly down about 10%—sort of the magic number for the month—while exports to the Middle East were off 5%.
The rest of the world wasn't all that much different. Shipments to South America fell from $516 million to $441 million, thanks to double-digit losses in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru. The UK was the site of an almost 15% drop, despite a large increase in electric storage battery exports. The rival for China as the state's worst market was Mexico. Shipments south of the border fell almost 20% for the quarter. Tennessee exports to Mexico were their lowest since the first quarter of 2013. Computers, auto parts, diesel engines, and cotton were at the heart of this sizable loss.
The state's two "best" markets for the quarter were Canada, where losses were held to a modest 3% (to $2.255 billion), and the euro zone, to which exports fell just 2%. A few smaller markets, such as Israel and Oman, were very strong (in these two cases due to sales in the aircraft industry), but they could not make up for the declines elsewhere.
It has been quite a few quarters since the numbers were as almost uniformly negative as they were this past quarter. The third quarter has not started out particularly well, either, with July exports down a bit more than 3%. We can hope that some of the difficulty was due to the spike in the dollar at the end of 2015, but the reality is that we will probably have to see much stronger global growth to return to the kind of export growth the state was experiencing only a few quarters ago. When that will happen is anybody's guess.