Posts Tagged ‘imports’

Rogoff: Beware of Wounded Lions

Rogoff: Beware of Wounded Lions

Courtesy of Mark Thoma, Economist’s View

Kenneth Rogoff says the rest of the world should not ignore the recent threats of protectionist measures coming from the US:

Beware of Wounded Lions, by Kenneth Rogoff, Commentary, Project Syndicate:  G-20 leaders who scoff at the United States’ proposal for numerical trade-balance limits should know that they are playing with fire. … 

According to a recent … report…, fully 25% of the rise in unemployment since 2007, totaling 30 million people worldwide, has occurred in the US. If this situation persists, as I have long warned it might, it will lay the foundations for huge global trade frictions. The voter anger expressed in the US mid-term elections could prove to be only the tip of the iceberg…, the ground for populist economics is becoming more fertile by the day. …

True, today’s trade imbalances are partly a manifestation of broader long-term economic trends, such as Germany’s aging population, China’s weak social safety net, and legitimate concerns in the Middle East over eventual loss of oil revenues. And, to be sure, it would very difficult for countries to cap their trade surpluses in practice: there are simply too many macroeconomic and measurement uncertainties.

Moreover, it is hard to see how anyone – even the IMF, as the US proposal envisions – could enforce caps on trade surpluses. The Fund has little leverage over the big countries that are at the heart of the problem.

Still,… world leaders … must recognize the pain that the US is suffering in the name of free trade. Somehow, they must find ways to help the US expand its exports. Fortunately, emerging markets have a great deal of scope for action.

India, Brazil, and China, for example, continue to exploit World Trade Organization rules that allow long phase-in periods for fully opening up their domestic markets to developed-country imports… A determined effort by emerging-market countries that have external surpluses to expand imports from the US (and Europe) would do far more to address the global trade imbalances … than changes to their exchange rates or fiscal policies. …

American hegemony over the global economy is perhaps in its final decades. China, India, Brazil, and other emerging markets are in ascendancy. Will the transition will go smoothly and lead to a global economy that is both fairer and more prosperous?

However much we


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The Marriage of Mercantilism and Corporatism: When Free Trade Is Not ‘Free’

The Marriage of Mercantilism and Corporatism: When Free Trade Is Not ‘Free’

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

"The consequences of this policy are also stark and simple: in effect, China is taxing imports while subsidizing exports, feeding a huge trade surplus. You may see claims that China’s trade surplus has nothing to do with its currency policy; if so, that would be a first in world economic history. An undervalued currency always promotes trade surpluses, and China is no different." Paul Krugman

And he is exactly right. As regular readers know this matter of Chinese mercantilism and its toleration and acceptance by the West has been a key observation and objection here since 2000. Any economist who does not understand that devaluing and then maintaining an artificially low currency peg with a trading partner distorts the nature of that trade should review their knowledge of algebra.

And yet it was in 1994 during the Clinton Administration that China was permitted to obtain full trading partner "Most Favored Nation" status, while vaguely promising to float their recently devalued currency some day, and address the human rights issues that were endogenous to their non-democratic, totalitarian government.

"From 1981 to 1993 there were six major devaluations in China. Their amounts ranged from 9.6 percent to 44.9 percent, and the official exchange rate went from 2.8 yuan per U.S. dollar to 5.32 yuan per U.S. dollar. On January 1, 1994, China unified the two-tier exchange rates by devaluing the official rate to the prevailing swap rate of 8.7 yuan per U.S. dollar." Sonia Wong, China’s Export Growth

This served Mr. Clinton’s constituents in Bentonville quite well, and has some interesting implications for the Chinese campaign contributions scandals. It supported the Rubin doctrine of a ‘strong dollar’ while facilitating the financialization of the US economy and the continuing decline of the middle class wage earners, under pressue to surrender a standard of living achieved at great cost. "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Currency Collapse." and China’s Mercantilism: Selling Them the Rope

Not to limit this, George W. ratified the arrangement when he took office, and so it has gone on for almost fifteen years…
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The Ecstasy of Empire

The Ecstasy of Empire

Courtesy of PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS writing at CounterPunch

Clock Striking 12 O'clock

The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times column, “Welcome to the Recovery.”

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Warnings by Williams, Gerald Celente, and myself have gone unheeded, but our warnings recently had echoes from Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and from David Stockman, who excoriated the Republican Party for becoming big-spending Democrats.

It is encouraging to see some realization that, this time, Washington cannot spend the economy out of recession. The deficits are already too large for the dollar to survive as reserve currency, and deficit spending cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been moved offshore. 

However, the solutions offered by those who are beginning to recognize that there is a problem are discouraging. Kotlikoff thinks the solution is savage Social Security and Medicare cuts or equally savage tax increases or hyperinflation to destroy the vast debts. 

Perhaps economists lack imagination, or perhaps they don’t want to be cut off from Wall Street and corporate subsidies, but Social Security and Medicare are insufficient at their present levels, especially considering the erosion of private pensions by the dot com, derivative and real estate bubbles. Cuts in Social Security and Medicare, for which people have paid 15 per cent of their earnings all their lives, would result in starvation and deaths from curable diseases. 

Tax increases make even less sense. It is widely acknowledged that the majority of households cannot survive on one job. Both husband and wife work and often one of the partners has two jobs in order to make ends meet. Raising taxes makes it harder to make ends meet--thus more foreclosures, more food stamps, more homelessness. What kind of economist or humane person thinks this is a solution?

Tax forms with money

Ah, but we will tax the rich. The rich have enough money. They will simply stop earning.

Let’s get real.  Here is what the government is likely to do.  Once Washington realizes that the dollar is…
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About that recovery you ordered

About that recovery you ordered

Courtesy of James D. Hamilton at Econbrowser 

"We have met the enemy and he is us," Pogo used to say. Well, we’ve also now met the recovery, and he is ugly.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that U.S. real GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.4% during the second quarter. The latest GDP numbers bring our Econbrowser Recession Indicator Index for 2010:Q1 down to 5.4%. This index is based on a very simple pattern-recognition algorithm for characterizing economic recessions. It is not a prediction of where the economy is headed, but rather a backward-looking assessment of where the economy stood as of the first quarter, using today’s 2010:Q2 data release to help inform that assessment.

University of Oregon Professor Jeremy Piger maintains a related index which has been at or below 1% for each month so far of 2010, while the most recent value calculated by U.C. Riverside Professor Marcelle Chauvet‘s algorithm is 7.8%. All three approaches agree that the economy remains in a growth phase that began in the third quarter of last year. A subsequent economic downturn would be described as the beginning of a new recession rather than a continuation of the previous recession.

 GDP-led Recession

*The plotted value for each date is based solely on information as it would have been publicly available and reported as of one quarter after the indicated date, with 2010:Q1 the last date shown on the graph. Shaded regions (with the exception of 2007:Q4-2009:Q2) represent dates of NBER recessions, which were not used in any way in constructing the index, and which were sometimes not reported until two years after the date. The most recent recession is shown on the graph as ending in 2009:Q2 as implied by the index; as of this writing the NBER has not yet assigned an end date for this recession.

But a pretty recovery it’s not. The economy has grown by 3.2% in real terms over the last year, about the average annual historical growth rate since World War II. But since recessions are characterized by below-average growth, expansions should typically exhibit above-average growth, and particularly in the first year of an expansion we often see very strong growth as a result of the positive contribution…
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Services ISM Growth Slows – Jobs, Imports, Export Orders Contract; Manufacturing vs. Services ISM – Which is More Important and Why?

Services ISM Growth Slows – Jobs, Imports, Export Orders Contract; Manufacturing vs. Services ISM – Which is More Important and Why?

Courtesy of Mish 

In yet another sign the economy is cooling substantially, three components of the June Services ISM are now in contraction, with the overall index declining much faster than economists expected.

From the June 2010 ISM Report On Business®:

In June, the NMI registered 53.8 percent, indicating continued growth in the nonmanufacturing sector for the sixth consecutive month, but at a slightly slower rate than in May. A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

Employment activity in the nonmanufacturing sector contracted in June after one month of growth. ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Employment Index for June registered 49.7 percent.

Orders and requests for services and other non-manufacturing activities to be provided outside of the United States by domestically based personnel contracted in June after three consecutive months of growth.

ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Imports Index contracted in June after three consecutive months of growth.

The above link also contains the Manufacturing ISM.

Recovery Withers on the Vine

There is really not much to like in either of the ISM reports.

Inquiring minds also note Factory Orders Fall More Than Expected; Recovery Withers on the Vine

You should not have to be a genius to figure out the rebound in manufacturing was a result of four factors now withering on the vine.

  • Inventory replenishment
  • Unsustainable stimulus
  • Housing incentives pushing demand forward on appliances
  • Rebound in auto sales from extremely depressed levels

Is Europe going to lead the world recovery? China? US Consumers?

The answers are No, No, and No

Manufacturing was the one bright spot but its best days are now long gone. Moreover China Manufacturing Slows for Second Month; US ISM Weaker than Expected; Weekly Unemployment Claims Stubbornly High; Existing Home Sales Plunge

Budgetary Murder

This depression (and we are in one, masked only by safety nets galore), is The Price We Pay For Budgetary Murder.

Unfortunately, the budgetary murder continues unabated, and that will prolong this depression.

Japan is in its mess because of Keynesian and Monetarist stimulus, we are in this mess because of Keynesian and Monetarist stimulus, and the UK is in its mess because of Keynesian and Monetarist stimulus. Yet the


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US GDP growth rate is unsustainable; recovery will fade

US GDP growth rate is unsustainable; recovery will fade

Magnifying glass on line graph

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns 

The US turned in a fairly robust quarter in Q1 2010, with real GDP growth meeting expectations at 3.2% annualized. This comes on the back of a very robust annualized 5.6% growth in the previous quarter. This is the best growth two-quarter growth we have seen since 2003.

However, when one digs deeper, it is obvious this growth is unsustainable because it is predicated on a reduction in savings rates and a releveraging of the household sector. As a result, I expect weak GDP growth in the second half of 2010.

The problem with the BEA reported numbers is the composition of GDP growth. The BEA says in its data release:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 5.6 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3). The "second" estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 27, 2010.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in state and local government spending and in residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected decelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, a downturn in residential fixed investment, and a larger decrease in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an acceleration in PCE and a deceleration in imports.

So the gain in GDP was due to consumption, while GDP decelerated from Q4 2009 due to inventory, exports, residential investment, and state and local government spending. 

Young Couple Shopping at Shoe Store

Translation: These numbers are entirely dependent on an increase in consumer spending. Everything else is becoming a drag on…
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Chinese savings and the wealth effect

Chinese savings and the wealth effect

Courtesy of Michael Pettis’ s China Financial Markets

Cityscape of Hong Kong at night, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong, China

Sorry to regular readers for my blog’s being out of commission for much of the past week, but apparently it has created too much traffic for the host, so without giving me any warning they pulled the site.  We came up with a temporary solution and will move to something more permanent soon.  Since I supposedly own the domain (this is what Charles Saliba, who takes care of these thing for me, tells me – I have no idea what that means), there will be no need to change the address of my blog.

Part of the reason this has taken so long to fix is that during the whole period I was at a conference in Sao Paolo, where I was lucky enough to share the stage with a number of luminaries, including Pedro Malan.  Needless to say the subject of China is hot in Brazil.  There is a great deal of soul-searching about the impact of Chinese commodity purchases on Brazil’s economy, along with a great deal of hope and dread.

One topic that people found especially interesting was the discussion on why China’s savings rate is so high, especially when I discussed it as one of the consequences of financial repression.  At least four different economists told me, separately, that my account of Chinese imbalances and the forced rebalancing process reminded them of Brazil in the 1960s and early 1970s, and the difficult rebalancing process of the late 1970s and the “lost decade” of the 1980s.  Brazilian economists seem to understand very quickly the relationship between financial repression and savings.  No surprise here – I suspect quite a few Japanese economists do too.

But it is not always easy for many others to see how it works.  For example in the US, unlike in China, we are used to seeing savings as positively correlated with interest rates.  When interest rates rise, in other words, the savings rate tends to rise and the consumption rate decline, although this doesn’t always happen so mechanically.

One explanation for this relationship is that the interest rate is the reward for postponing consumption.  Rising interest rates increase the reward, and so in response, households reduce their consumption and increase their savings.  The obverse is that the interest rate is the penalty…
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Doubts On China’s Trade Numbers

Doubts On China’s Trade Numbers

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What?

This is a follow-up to a brief post that I put up yesterday regarding China’s May export and import data. I pretty much just reported the data, one of the key components being that exports were down 26.4% year-over-year and imports shrank 25.2% for the same period.

A couple bloggers picked up on a point that I hadn’t focused on and it deserves some mention. Specifically the fact that China’s capital spending was up 38.7% in May and is up 32.9% for the year doesn’t square with a decline in imports.

Here are Brad Setser’s thoughts:

Investment booms fueled by a surge in domestic lending usually lead to import booms. That was the case with the Asian tigers in the 1990s, the US at the peak of its dot home bubble and the real estate boom in the oil exporters just prior to the crisis. It was also the case in 2003, when a surge in bank lending triggered a surge in investment in China (just as Chinese exports were also surging). But it isn’t the case, at least so far, in China today.

Setser then goes on to analyze a number of charts on exports and imports but in the end seems to give up. The best he can come up with is that it is a puzzle.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has been as much a China numbers skeptic as I. She has also cited declining numbers on electricity usage as being irreconcilable with the claims of relatively strong GDP growth. Today she points out some disparities in the dramatic car sale reports:

Separate but related is that some of the cheery data coming out of China does not bear close scrutiny. Yesterday, Bloomberg noted that car sales in China spiked. Today we learn that the definition of a “sale” is a shipment from the factory, whether the car has a buyer or not. And the number of registrations, a much better measure of end purchases, is much lower that the supposed sales figures.

Any further insights are most welcome.

 


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Zero Hedge

7 Reasons Why Stocks No Longer Care About Political Shocks, And 2 Why They Should

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

From Nicholas Colas of DataTrek Research

Why do global equity markets ignore political shocks like Brexit, President Trump’s election or the news that Angela Merkel failed to form a government in Germany? There are plenty of good reasons, actually, which we review below.

News that German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to form a new government was the big shock...



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Chart School

Russell 2000 and Semiconductor New Highs / S&P Breaks

Courtesy of Declan.

The S&P broke higher to confirm a 'bear trap' and also closed at a new all-time high. Volume climbed to register an accumulation day but there were further losses in relative performance and continued losses in the MACD.


The Nasdaq posted a gap-driven 1% gain to bring it ever closer to channel resistance. It hasn't yet tagged resistance but it looks well placed to do so by the end of the week. Technical are all bullish.

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Phil's Favorites

Rogue State

 

Rogue State

How the guardians of nationhood conspire in its destruction.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 18th November 2017 (Brexiters, beware: if the ties that bind us unravel, tyranny may soon follow)

What is this country we are asked to love? This might once have been an easy question to answer. National identity was built around a range of institutions, considered to represent the national interest. Rebellion against them was characterised as treason. But one by one, these institutions have been subverted from within. Look to the top to see treacher...



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Insider Scoop

The Urban Outfitters Q3 Print: Jefferies' Likes And Dislikes

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related URBN 13 Key Technical Levels To Watch On Tuesday 5 Biggest Price Target Changes For Tuesday ...

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Digital Currencies

As Bitcoin Tops $8,200, Only 39% Of Survey Respondents Say It's A Bubble

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Having first surged above $8000 overnight amid Zimbabwe's chaos, it appears uncertainty in the core of Europe has driven further demand for cryptocurrencu protection, sending Bitcoin to a new record high of $8247 - up 50% from the 'Bitcoin Cash' crash weekend lows.

...



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Biotech

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Courtesy of Todd GoldeUniversity of Florida

Family members often become primary caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. tonkid/Shutterstock.com

Thirty years ago, scientists began to unlock the mysteries regarding the cause of Alzheimer’...



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ValueWalk

Robert Mugabe Under House Arrest, Military Takes Control Of Zimbabwe

By Andjela Radmilac. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Zimbabwe’s head of state, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, has been placed under house arrest after what seems to be a military coup took place in the nation’s capital.

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRobert Mugabe is safe

Following numerous reports on social media late Thursday night about the increased military presence in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, the country’s military took...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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