4th Quarter 2013

Cars were definitely the big story.

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Trade Report continued

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Cars were definitely the quarter's big story, but the rest of the state economy also racked up over $250 million in new exports. A large portion of these were in the medical sector. The foreign sales of orthopedic goods increased by more than $70 million (to $277 million), while pharmaceuticals were up $14 million (to $134 million). Medical instruments added another $22 million (to $704 million). As per the past several quarters, the gains in this sector were primarily in Japan and Singapore, though several markets in Latin America, notably Brazil and Colombia, also performed very well. Just behind medical goods stood aircraft, computer industry, and whiskey exports. Aircraft-related exports gained almost 20% for the quarter (to $464 million).

Tennessee's Leading Trade Partners

The single largest market gain was in Turkey, but Egypt, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Colombia all increased their purchases of Tennessee-produced aircraft equipment by more than $10 million each. Solid gains by the state's printer manufacturers propelled the computer industry to increases in the neighborhood of $40 million. Whiskey sales broke the $200 million barrier for the quarter. That was an increase of 20%. Half of this increase was in Europe (France, Germany, and the UK, primarily), a remarkable feat in a region where imports are basically flat. In fact, total Tennessee sales to Europe were basically unchanged for the quarter (at just a shade over $1 billion).

trade weighted dollar index

Only a handful of industries suffered serious export reverses. The largest was the video game industry. A large decline in shipments to Canada led to a quarterly fall of nearly $32 million from a year ago (a nearly 30% decline). Machinery exports were generally down, as were those of engines and generators. Cotton and synthetic fiber shipments both fell, suggesting a general slowdown in the global apparel industry.

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