The stalling global economy had its impact as well, most notably in China. Exports to China fell more than 11%, to $517 million. If we include Hong Kong and Taiwan, shipments to the region fell by over $100 million (almost 20%). The good news, if we wish to call it that, is that the loss was concentrated in cotton shipments. If we subtract cotton sales, Tennessee exports to these markets actually increased a small amount. Essentially exports of final goods (orthopedics, aircraft, computers) were up, while intermediate goods used in Chinese factories were down. Europe, with its well-known "austerity," was a similar story. Total Tennessee exports to that continent were up but just barely (less than 1%), and even that was only because of a single country. A $50 million gain in the Netherlands (mostly orthopedics and cars) was just enough to counterbalance a decline in every other major eurozone market. Outside the euro, the U.K. was basically unchanged as well.
There was better news from the Asian rims. In the northeast, exports to both South Korea and Japan were robust. For Japan, where almost half the state's exports are now in the medical sector, the gains were built on increased orthopedic exports and new shipments of solar cells. The story in Korea was cars. Exports of automobiles soared from $3 million in the first quarter of 2012 to $56 million last quarter. This spearheaded a 30% gain in the Korean market. Though much of Southern and Southeast Asia mirrored the slowdown in China, Singapore was a tremendous exception. A huge increase in medical instrument shipments and pharmaceuticals to Singapore added nearly $100 million in exports to that country. Finally, at the other end of Asia, a surge of auto sales led to a 20% growth of exports to the Persian Gulf states. Most of the autos were Altimas shipped to the United Arab Emirates.