3rd Quarter 2014

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Slow global economic growth and large losses in several sectors slowed state export growth.

International Trade Report

by Steven G. Livingston | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Tennessee exports rose modestly in the third quarter, to $8.24 billion. This was a gain of 4% from the third quarter of 2013, just about identical to the national gain of 4.2%. Unfortunately all of the gain was due to a very strong July. State exports actually fell in the latter two months of the quarter. Though not helped by the soaring dollar, the Tennessee slowdown was more due to continuing slow global economic growth combined with large losses in several export sectors.

The major loss was in cotton shipments. The value of the state's cotton exports fell by close to $100 million for the quarter ($225 million in the third quarter of 2013 but only $133 million in the 3rd quarter of 2014). The loss was global with Chinese exports off by half, Indonesia's more than half, and Turkey's by a full two-thirds. Most of the state's poorest-performing markets were its traditional large cotton markets. The Chinese cotton stockpile and resulting decision to cut back imports does not bode well for the near future. The other sizable slide occurred in the shipment of optical media (DVDs and such), which fell by nearly $60 million (to $44 million). These exports go overwhelmingly to Canada.

Though a few other commodities suffered significant reverses, including excavation equipment, nonwoven fabrics, cellulose, and tires, the large majority of Tennessee export industries were able to forge gains for the quarter, even if in many cases rather small ones.

Tennessee monthly exports

Tennessee's Monthly Imports