201705.15
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Staying Stuck

The rebound in commodity prices is not difficult to understand, perhaps even sympathize with. With everything so depressed early last year, if it turned out to be no big deal in the end then there was a killing to be made. That’s what markets are supposed to do, entice those with liquidity to buy when…

201705.08
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Lackluster Trade, China April Edition

China’s trade statistics for April 2017 uniformly disappointed. They only did so, however, because expectations are being calibrated as if the current economy is actually different. It is instead merely swinging between bouts of contraction and low-grade growth, but so low-grade it really doesn’t qualify as growth. Positive numbers do get the mind racing, but…

201705.05
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Lackluster Trade

US imports rose 9% year-over-year (NSA) in March 2017, after being flat in February and up 12% in January. For the quarter overall, imports rose 7.3%, a rate that is slightly more than the 2013-14 comparison. The difference, however, is simply the price of oil. Removing petroleum, imports rose instead 6.3% in March and just…

201704.13
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What Was Chinese Trade in March?

As with all statistics, there are discrepancies that from time to time may obscure the meaning or validity of the particular estimate in question. For the vast majority of the time, any such uncertainties amount to very little. Overall, harmony among the major accounts reduces the signal noise from any one featuring a significant inconsistency….

201704.04
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February US Trade Disappoints

The oversized base effects of oil prices could not in February 2017 push up overall US imports. The United States purchased, according to the Census Bureau, 71% more crude oil from global markets this February than in February 2016. In raw dollar terms, it was an increase of $7.3 billion year-over-year. Total imports, however, only…

201703.08
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China Trade Skews

Chinese trade figures for the month of February 2017 were decidedly mixed. On the import side, total trade rose by 38.1% from February 2016. That latter month, however, was one of the lowest trade figures in years (the first time imports had added up to less than $100 billion in any month going back to…

201703.08
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US Trade Skews

US trade statistics dramatically improved in January 2017, though questions remain as to interpreting by how much. On the export side, US exports of goods rose 8.7% year-over-year (NSA). While that was the highest growth rate since 2012, there is part symmetry to account for some of it. Exports in the latter half of 2015…

201702.10
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No China Trade Interpretations

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of China does not publish any of the big three data series (Industrial Production, Retail Sales, Fixed Asset Investment) for the month of January. It combines January data with February data because of the large distortions caused by Lunar New Year holidays. Unlike Western holidays that are but a…

201702.07
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More Positive Numbers In Trade

US exports grew by 5.6% year-over-year (NSA) in December, the fourth gain in the past five months. It was the highest growth rate since October 2013. On the incoming trade side, imports advanced 2.4% year-over-year after rising 5.1% in November. Those were the first consecutive monthly increases since the last two months of 2014. The…

201701.13
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The Last Month For ‘Unexpected’?

Chinese officials reported that exports fell 6.1% in December, following a downward revised 1.5% decline in November that was originally reported as a 0.1% gain. While the media talks about disappointment after it appeared Chinese exports might have been finally breaking out, and therefore global growth, December’s result simply continues the same pattern repeating over…