4th Quarter 2014

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Globally, Tennessee continues to feel the effect of Europe's economic doldrums.

Trade Report continued

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Even with its slight 2% growth, the automotive industry still fared best among the state's large export sectors. Though medicament shipments were solid, the medical instrument sector, the state's other largest export sector, declined from $568 million to $511 million. Medical exports to Japan dropped by a quarter, while those to the E.U. were off 105. Several related industries, including medical needles and surgical catgut, also experienced significant losses.

No sector was more volatile than aircraft (and parts). But the bottom line is that its foreign shipments were down significantly, making it the state's poorest-performing major export industry. Large sales in Mexico, the U.K., and Japan could not make up for even larger declines in Turkey, France, Colombia, and Egypt. As a result industry exports fell nearly $90 million for the quarter.

Among the state's other large export sectors, the computer industry barely budged. It gained $4 million for the quarter, as growing laptop shipments barely exceeded falling desktop exports. The plastics industry was off slightly, due to a steep fall in cellulose acetate shipments. Cotton continued to shrink (from $115 million to $75 million, pun intended!). Mowers and excavation equipment sales both fell by nearly half. And aluminum shipments declined by around one-third (to $55 million). One large product alone could claim to have had a pretty good quarter, internal combustion engines (and their parts). Its combined exports rose from $343 million to $431 million, a gain of 54%.

Tennessee's Leading Trade Partners

trade weighted dollar index