This leaves the quarter's two bright stars. Exports surged to Japan. The value of exports to Japan grew 12% in the fourth quarter. The resulting $51 million gain pushed Japan ahead of China as the state's third-largest market. Semiconductor and electronics exports were at the heart of this gain. And Singapore's imports from Tennessee grew by an astounding 43%, thanks to large increases in medical-related products, including pharmaceuticals and medical instruments. This performance is all the more remarkable given that the state exported 7% less to Singapore's fellow ASEAN members. Because Singapore accounts for close to half the states' exports to Southeast Asia, it was the one global region in which Tennessee exports were net positive for the quarter.
As this survey might suggest, a number of the state's foundational export industries did not have good quarters. Cotton sales fell by $76 million, with the largest losses in China and Turkey. Chemical exports were also down substantially, including dye and coloring materials, while computer sales were off more than $50 million from a year earlier. For the latter, losses were concentrated in laptop shipments. Diesel engine exports, too, had a tough quarter, with shipments down more than 40%. One newer export industry had a particularly bad quarter: exports of video game consoles (and parts) exports crashed. They were down by more than two-thirds. At $72 million, this was the largest single-product quarterly loss.
Fortunately, a number of Tennessee export industries turned in strong quarters despite the global slowdown. Aircraft sales were up over 20%. Guadeloupe, of all places, was the site of the largest gains. Medical instrument exports grew by more than $50 million, as it remained the state's single largest exported product by value. Other medical-related products, such as orthopedics, also had strong quarters. Cellular phone component exports grew by about a quarter (to $154 million), with gains in Korea, Japan, and the U.K. The plastics industry posted a 15% gain in exports, with increased sales in Europe and the Far East. Last, it was a good quarter for the state's automotive industry. Car sales were up strongly, growing from $300 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $388 million last quarter. Most of the increase was to Canada, Mexico, and Korea. Shipments of motor vehicle parts were also up, crossing the $400 million mark.