China’s Hatches Further Battened

The problem with global growth, synchronized or not, is that it isn’t really a thing. It is a made-up concept that accompanies confusion. Why is the economy about to pick up when there is no evidence for that expectation? Global growth. It’s a nonspecific bogeyman that anyone can point to and expect little or often…


There Are Two ‘L’s’ In China’s Wall

The global economy is not falling off a cliff. There isn’t even evidence it is about to or is nearing such a situation. The most alarming that might be said of how things appear right now is that conditions aren’t getting any better. It’s hardly the stuff of severe global unrest. This is why individual…


US Trade Settles Down Again

US trade is further leveling off after several months of artificial intrusions. On the import side, in particular, first was a very large and obvious boost following last year’s big hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Starting in September 2017, for four months the value of imported goods jumped by an enormous 8.3% (revised, seasonally-adjusted). Most…


What China’s Trade Conditions Say About The Right Side Of ‘L’

Chinese exports rose 12.9% year-over-year in April 2018. Imports were up 20.9%. As always, both numbers sound impressive but they are far short of rates consistent with a growing global economy. China’s participation in global growth, synchronized or not, is a must. The lack of acceleration on the export side tells us a lot about…


Watching Imports

The US trade deficit, a sensitive political topic these days, declined sharply in March. It had expanded significantly (more deficit) in January and February, reaching nearly -$76 billion (seasonally adjusted) in the latter month, before posting -$68 billion in the latest figures. Exports rose while imports fell in March, making for the largest single month…


China’s Exports Are Interesting, But It’s Their Imports Where Reflation Lives or Dies

Last month Chinese trade statistics left us with several key questions. Export growth was a clear outlier, with outbound trade rising nearly 45% year-over-year in February 2018. There were the usual Golden Week distortions to consider, made more disruptive by the timing of it this year as different from last year. And then we have…


China’s Xi Really Had No Choice

Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to back off the heated trade rhetoric over the past few months. In a speech drawing intense focus, Xi, while stating nothing that could be taken as definitive, pledged a “new phase of opening up” China’s vast marketplace. China does not seek [a] trade surplus. We have a genuine desire…


US Imports Don’t Quite Match Chinese Exports

In early 2015, a contract dispute between dockworkers’ unions and 29 ports on the West Coast of the US escalated into what was a slowdown strike. Cargoes piled up especially at some of the largest facilities like those in Oakland, LA, and Long Beach, threatening substantial economic costs far and away from just those directly…


China’s Questionable Start to 2018

The Chinese government reported estimates for Industrial Production, Retail Sales, and Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) for both January and February 2018. The National Bureau of Statistics prepares and calculates China’s major economic statistics in this manner at the beginning of each year due to the difficulties created by calendar effects (New Year Golden Week). Despite…


China Exports: Trump Tariffs, Booming Growth, or Tainted Trade?

China’s General Administration of Customs reported that Chinese exports to all other countries were in February 2018 an incredible 44.5% more than they were in February 2017. Such a massive growth rate coming now has served to intensify the economic boom narrative. A strengthening U.S. recovery is helping underpin China’s outlook as Asia’s biggest economy…