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MTSU Report: Tennessee exports dropped significantly during fourth quarter

Johnson City Press • May 8, 2019 at 2:26 PM

Tennessee exports dropped by almost $500 million during a “poor fourth quarter” of 2018, according to the latest “Global Commerce” trade report compiled by Middle Tennessee State University’s Economic Research Center. 

“2018 ended on a down note for Tennessee exporters … in one of the worst quarters in recent memory,” author of the report and Economic Research Center Associate Director Steven Livingston said.

The value of state exports declined by more than 5 percent during the fourth quarter, as Tennessee far underperformed the nation and total exports dropped just below $8 billion. Meanwhile, total American exports increased during the quarter by 3.4 percent. 

Tennessee ranked 38th among all American states in its quarterly export performance, the report says. Geographically, the state’s losses were largest in Canada and Latin America.

“The losses were widespread,” said Livingston, noting that shipments fell in six of the state’s top 10 markets, and across a number of industries, including automobiles and computers.

“The state also felt the effects of the retaliatory tariffs placed on American exports, with targeted products such as whiskey down sharply to Europe and China. A few industries, such as aluminum plating and precious metal scrap, did forge ahead,” he said.

“But overall, the headwinds were too strong. A strong dollar, weak global growth, a trade war, and adverse supply chain changes all proved too much,” he continued. “We are not optimistic that these obstacles will abate as 2019 proceeds.”

To read the full report and more details summaries, go to https://mtsu.edu/globalcommerce/4q2018.php.

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