by ilene - July 10th, 2010 10:29 pm
Courtesy of Robert Reich
President Obama has vowed to double U.S. exports within the next five years. That’s because exports are critical for rebooting the American economy. It’s clear American consumers can’t get the economy going on their own. They can’t restart the jobs machine. They’ve run out of money and credit.
It’s not just that one out of four Americans is unemployed or underemployed (working part-time, overqualified, or at a lower wage than before). More significantly, the Great Recession burst the housing bubble that had let American consumers turn their homes into ATMs. Now the cash machines are closed.
So the Administration figures foreign consumers will have to fill the gap.
Problem is, most other economies also relied on American consumers. Remember the trade gap? Americans used to be the world’s biggest and most reliable customers – sucking in high-tech gadgets assembled in China, car parts from Japan, shirts and shoes from Southeast Asia, and precision instruments from Germany.
With American consumers pulling back, these other economies have also been slowing down. Their unemployment is rising.
Last week I attended a conference with global business executives. When I asked them where they expected to find new customers to replace Americans who are pulling back, they all said China and India and quoted me the same number: 800 million new middle-class consumers from these and other fast-developing countries over the next decade.
Yes, but. As of now China and India are still relying on net exports to fuel their growth. Even if you think their middle classes will eventually become so big and rich they can buy everything these nations will be able to produce, that doesn’t mean they’ll also buy what the rest of the world produces.
Yes, global companies will do wonderfully well. General Motors is well on the way to selling more cars in China than it does in the U.S. But American workers won’t get the jobs, and nor will workers in Europe, Japan, or the rest of the world. GM makes the cars it sells to Chinese consumers in China.
Meanwhile, the productive capacities of China and India will continue to grow: More workers, more factories, more high-tech equipment, more offices. The buying power of their middle classes will have to expand rapidly just to catch up with what these nations will be able…
by ilene - February 8th, 2010 1:12 pm
Courtesy of Michael Panzner, When Giants Fall
Even though there’s still a week to go before the Year of the Tiger celebrations begin, there seems to be lots of growling coming from the East. If the following reports are anything to go by, it looks like the 12-month period dedicated to one of the animal kingdom’s most ferocious creatures might just live up to its name.
What Guides the Chinese Tiger As It Grows Stronger?" (The National)
The Chinese will celebrate their New Year on February 14. The year of the ox will close and the year of the tiger will begin. China’s leaders don’t appear to have waited for the stars to tell them to pursue a more aggressive course.
First they derailed the climate change talks at Copenhagen in December. Then they took the stage at Davos in January to denounce any accusations that they were manipulating the value of their currency. Throw in disputes with Google and their rebukes of the US president Barack Obama for meeting the Dalai Lama and approving weapons sales to Taiwan, and the world has seen another side of China.
China is emboldened; its coffers are swollen with $2.4 trillion in currency reserves and it is no longer prepared to kowtow to anybody, particularly the United States. For the first time in centuries China is ready to strut on the world stage.
"China’s Hawks Demand Cold War on the US" (The Times)
MORE than half of Chinese people questioned in a poll believe China and America are heading for a new “cold war”.
The finding came after battles over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, climate change, internet freedom and human rights which have poisoned relations in the three months since President Barack Obama made a fruitless visit to Beijing.
According to diplomatic sources, a rancorous postmortem examination is under way inside the US government, led by officials who think the president was badly advised and was made to appear weak.
In China’s eyes, the American response — which includes a pledge by Obama to get tougher on trade — is a reaction against its rising power.
Now almost 55% of those questioned for Global Times, a state-run newspaper, agree that “a cold war will break out between the US and China”.
by ilene - December 30th, 2009 6:52 pm
Courtesy of Mish
Price of steel is going up. Is that a good thing? For who? Please consider U.S. Trade Panel Rules for Domestic Steelmakers Against Chinese Imports.
The U.S. International Trade Commission sided with U.S. steelmakers in a case over Chinese steel Wednesday, voting that U.S. industry has been damaged by a flood of imports of subsidized steel from China.
In the ITC’s largest-ever steel case, all six commissioners voted in the affirmative that imports of so-called oil country tubular goods from China have injured U.S. manufacturers. The commission will provide details of its decision later Wednesday.
The ruling, which will likely result in duties on future imports of Chinese steel pipes, adds more tension to the U.S.-China trade relationship. Ties between Washington and Beijing are already frayed by the Obama administration’s imposition of duties on Chinese tire imports and China’s criticism of U.S. moves as protectionist.
Last month, the Commerce Department imposed countervailing duties on the steel pipes ranging from 10.4% to 15.8%. The ITC’s decision Wednesday allows the government to finalize those duties. The commission will make a separate decision on antidumping duties next spring.
In the case, brought by U.S. steel manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union, the domestic industry has framed its case in terms of potential job losses — thousands of steel workers have been laid off or had their mills closed. In China, job losses have been few, as Chinese mills continue to operate despite weakened world demand.
The case was filed by Maverick Tube Corp.; United States Steel Corp.; TMK IPSCO; V&M Star LP; Wheatland Tube Corp.; Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel; and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.
Steel Grating Tariffs
It’s not just steel pipe under review. Please consider US imposes duties on China steel grating.
The US Commerce Department said on Tuesday that it has set preliminary anti-dumping duties (AD) on imports of steel grating from China, a move that might escalate trade disputes between the two countries.
The department said it "preliminarily determined that Chinese producers/exporters have sold steel grating in the United States at 14.36 to 145.18 percent less than normal value."
As a result of this preliminary determination, Commerce will instruct US Customs and Border Protection
by ilene - September 15th, 2009 3:19 am
Courtesy of Mish
The Mail Online has some stunning images of The ghost fleet of the recession.
The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination – and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year.
Above: The ‘ghost fleet’ near Singapore. The world’s ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world’s economies
Just 12 months ago these financiers and brokers were enjoying fat bonuses as they traded cargo space. But nobody wants the space any more, and those that still need to ship goods across the world are demanding vast reductions in price.
Do not tell these men and women about green shoots of recovery. As Briton Tim Huxley, one of Asia’s leading ship brokers, says, if the world is really pulling itself out of recession, then all these idle ships should be back on the move. This is the time of year when everyone is doing all the Christmas stuff,’ he points out.
‘A couple of years ago those ships would have been steaming back and forth, going at full speed. But now you’ve got something like 12 per cent of the world’s container ships doing nothing.’
As the shipping industry teeters on the brink of collapse, the activity at boatyards like Mokpo and Ulsan in South Korea all looks like a sick joke. But the workers in these bustling shipyards, who teem around giant tankers and mega-vessels the length of several football pitches and capable of carrying 10,000 or more containers each, have no choice; they are trapped in a cruel time warp.
There have hardly been any new orders. In 2011 the shipyards will simply run out of ships to build
Above: 750ft-long merchant vessel is standing absurdly high in the water. The low waves don’t even bother the lowest mark on its Plimsoll line. It’s the same with all the ships parked here, and there are a lot of them. Close to 500. An armada of freighters with no cargo, no crew, and without a destination between them.
If ever you
by ilene - September 14th, 2009 2:09 pm
Courtesy of Jan-Martin Feddersen at Immobilienblasen
Juts what the doctor ordered…… As i´ve feared last week the "conditions" for world trade are not getting better…… Lets all hope that the tensions don´t escalate……. Just in China to request WTO consultations with US over tyre dispute – Commerce Ministry China says: – US tyre decision violates WTO rules. – Wants dialogue with US on tyre tariffs. Source: RTRS
A Tale of Two Depressions VOX
The downward spiral in global trade volumes has abated, and the most recent month for which we have data (June) shows a modest uptick. Nonetheless, the collapse of global trade, even now, remains dramatic by the standards of the Great Depression.
Volume of world trade, now vs then
China Probes ‘Unfair Trade’ in U.S. Chicken and Auto Products
Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — China announced dumping and subsidy probes of chicken and auto products from the U.S., two days after President Barack Obama imposed tariffs on tires from the Asian nation.
Chinese industries complain that they’re being hurt by “unfair trade practices,” the nation’s Ministry of Commerce said on its Web site yesterday. The dumping investigation relates to poultry alone, a spokesman said in Beijing today. The ministry didn’t specify the value of imports of the products.
Rising protectionism may hamper world trade and undermine the global economy’s recovery from recession, the European Central Bank ( see end of the post for details )said last week.
The U.S. placed tariffs starting at 35 percent on $1.8 billion of tire imports from China, backing a United Steelworkers union complaint against the second-largest U.S. trading partner.
China Reacts Quickly and Badly to Tire Tariffs Naked Capitalism
It would be better if we were not proven correct on this one, but when the US imposed stiff tariffs on imported tires from China late on Friday, we noted, “This could get interesting in a bad way.” The Chinese responded quickly over the weekend to announce they were investigating US auto parts and chicken, which together account for roughly as much as the disputed tires ($1.2 billion versus $1.3 billion for tires).
But protectionism is driven by the desire to protect jobs. Unemployment has not peaked in the US, and some analysts suggest that China’s job
by ilene - June 18th, 2009 12:36 am
Courtesy of Jan-Martin Feddersen of immobilienblasen
First the US and now China ( the country with the biggest surplusses ) …… Just what the doctor ordered…… Now combine this with the following chart ( for more more "depressing" charts see A Tale of Two Depressions ) and we all can only hope that this kind of "cancer" isn´t spreading…. But i have some serious doubts…..
Nachdem die USA ja bereits trotz einmal mehr großer Worte von Obama die "Buy American" Klausel in Ihrem Konjunkturpaket haben festschreiben lassen kommt jetzt der nächste Tiefschlag…… Wenn die Weltkonjunktur eines nicht gebrauchen kann dann ist es eine Ausuferung des Protektionismus. Das jetzt ausgerechnet China ( das Land mit den größten Handelsüberschüssen ) genau in diese Richtung marschiert ist mehr als bedenklich und läßt einem bei dem nachfolgenden Chart ( mehr depressive Charts via A Tale of Two Depressions ) noch pessimistischer in die Zukunft blicken…….
‘Buy China’ policy set to raise tensions FT
China has introduced an explicit “Buy Chinese” policy as part of its economic stimulus programme in a move that will amplify tensions with trade partners and increase the likelihood of protectionism around the world.
In an edict released jointly by nine government departments, Beijing said government procurement must use only Chinese products or services unless they were not available within the country or could not be bought on reasonable commercial or legal terms.
The government also said it was launching an investigation in response to complaints from domestic industry associations which accuse local governments of favouring foreign suppliers in procurement related to the country’s Rmb4,000bn ($585bn, €421bn, £356bn) economic stimulus package.
Just a few months ago Beijing was raging against a proposed “Buy American” clause included in the US economic rescue package.
“Some countries raised clauses to prioritise the purchase of products of their own countries in their economic stimulus packages,” Yao Jian, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman, told reporters in February. “We express deep concern about these [measures] … under the current financial crisis, measures issued by all countries should not cause negative impacts, and especially they should not send out wrong messages.”
Most economists agree China’s economy is starting to recover as a result of its aggressive