3rd Quarter 2013

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Tennessee International Trade Report

For the second consecutive quarter, state exports exceeded $8 billion.
by Steven G. Livingston | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

On the whole, it was not a bad quarter. After a year of virtually no growth, Tennessee exports gained 5.9% in the third quarter of 2013. At $8.2 billion, it was the second consecutive quarter that the state's foreign shipments crossed the $8 billion barrier. Though this export performance still pales in comparison to a couple of years ago, Tennessee's rate of export growth was more than double the nation's for the quarter.

Much of this relatively good news was driven by a few spectacular export performances. And "driven" is the word, because most of them involved automobiles. Car exports increased by $183 million in the third quarter, a remarkable 47% gain. This was despite a relatively poor quarter in the Middle East, the state auto industry's largest market outside of NAFTA. Shipments to Canada were up over $25 million, but the real stories were China, the Netherlands, and Australia. In all three, exports of cars soared dramatically.

trade weighted dollar index

In China, quarterly car sales increased from $2 million to $60 million, in the Netherlands from virtually zero to $25 million, and in Australia from less than a million dollars to $75 million. Plant closures in the latter country likely accounted for the state's performance down under. While other parts of the auto industry did not have such a spectacular quarter (auto part shipments were down slightly, and exports of trucks were off quite a bit), in sum this industry accounted for about half of the total increase in Tennessee's foreign shipments for the quarter.

Tennessee monthly exports

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