Summer 1996 - Volume 2, No. 1
Tennessee International Trade Report - 1st Quarter 1996
At $2.303 billion, this quarter's Tennessee exports fell just short of their highest level ever.Yet the state's growth in exports has markedly decelerated. Sales grew less than one percent from 1995's first quarter. This compares unfavorably with the nine percent growth in total U.S. exports, but probably reflects Tennessee's difficulty in topping its own dramatic gains of a year ago rather than any structural problems with the state's exports. About half of Tennessee industries, including the two largest exporters Transportation and Chemicals, actually saw their exports decline. However a number of other sectors, such as industrial machinery, the processed food industry, and the instrument industry, continued to make healthy gains. The apparel industry reversed its recent difficulties with a ten percent growth in exports.
Perhaps the most important change of the first quarter was the revival of the Mexican market. Exports to Mexico were up over 40% percent from a year ago. Sales to Europe and the rest of Latin America generally remained strong. However Asia was a different story. Excepting Japan and the Phillipines, virtually every east and southeast Asian market posted a double digit decline in sales. China was off more than 14 percent, while exports to Taiwan dropped by almost a half. Southern Asia was even worse. Last year's huge growth in exports to that region has come to a sudden halt, as sales to Pakistan (down 95 percent) and India (off 62%) have collapsed. But Tennessee exports to Russia and South Africa continued last quarter's turnaround, with solid gains in each of these markets.
The second quarter has not opened well, with April's exports off 4.3 percent from a year ago.
Note: The instrument sector turned in the best 1st quarter
performance among the state's large export sectors.
Note: Belgium is this quarter's new entrant among the state's top ten export destinations
(among countries with more than $2 million in sales per quarter)
(Seasonally adjusted, expressed in 1993 dollars)
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