Tag Archive: global trade

China’s Dollar Problem Puts the Sync In Globally Synchronized Downturn

Because the prevailing theory behind the global slowdown is “trade wars”, most if not all attention is focused on China. While the correct target, everyone is coming it at from the wrong direction. The world awaits a crash in Chinese exports engineered by US tariffs. It’s not happening, at least according to China’s official statistics.

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The Big Picture Doesn’t Include ‘Trade Wars’

The WTO today downgraded its estimates for global trade growth. In April, the international organization had figured the total volume of world merchandise trade would expand by about 2.6% in all of 2019 once the year closed out on the anticipated second half rebound. Everyone took their lumps in H1 and the WTO like central bankers everywhere were thinking “transitory” factors.

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Waiting on the Calvary

Engaged in one of those protectionist trade spats people have been talking about, the flow of goods between South Korea and Japan has been choked off. The specific national reasons for the dispute are immaterial. As trade falls off everywhere, countries are increasingly looking to protect their own. Nothing new, this is a feature of when prolonged stagnation turns to outright contraction.

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Where The Global Squeeze Is Unmasked

Trade between Asia and Europe has dimmed considerably. We know that from the fact Germany and China are the two countries out of the majors struggling the most right now. As a consequence of the slowing, shipping companies have had to make adjustments to their fleet schedules over and above normal seasonal variances.

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Is The Negativity Overdone?

Give stimulus a chance, that’s the theme being set up for this week. After relentless buying across global bond markets distorting curves, upsetting politicians and the public alike, central bankers have responded en masse. There were more rate cuts around the world in August than there had been at any point since 2009.

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Copper Confirmed

Copper prices behave more deliberately than perhaps prices in other commodity markets. Like gold, it is still set by a mix of economic (meaning physical) and financial (meaning collateral and financing). Unlike gold, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to get to wherever the commodity market is going. Over the last several years, it has been more long periods of sideways.

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The Myth of CNY DOWN = STIMULUS Won’t Die

On the one hand, it’s a small silver lining in how many even in the mainstream are beginning to realize that there really is something wrong. Then again, they are using “trade wars” to make sense of how that could be. For the one, at least they’ve stopped saying China’s economy is strong and always looks resilient no matter what data comes out.

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Germany Struggles On

The popular image of the German industrial machine politics is one which has Germany’s massive factories efficiently churning out goods for trade with the South of Europe (Club Med). Because of the common currency, numerous disparities starting with productivity differences had left the South highly indebted to the North just as the Global Financial Crisis would strike.

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Commodities And The Future Of China’s Stall

Commodity prices continued to fall last month. According to the World Bank’s Pink Sheet catalog, non-energy commodity prices accelerated to the downside. Falling 9.4% on average in May 2019 when compared to average prices in May 2018, it was the largest decline since the depths of Euro$ #3 in February 2016.

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All Of US Trade, Both Ways, And Much, Much More Than The Past Few Months

The media quickly picked up on Jay Powell’s comments this week from Chicago. Much less talked about was why he was in that particular city. The Federal Reserve has been conducting what it claims is an exhaustive review of its monetary policies. Officials have been very quick to say they aren’t unhappy with them, no, no, no, they’re unhappy with the pitiful state of the world in which they have to be applied.

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Japan’s Surprise Positive Is A Huge Minus

Preliminary estimates show that Japanese GDP surprised to the upside by a significant amount. According to Japan’s Cabinet Office, Real GDP expanded by 0.5% (seasonally-adjusted) in the first quarter of 2019 from the last quarter of 2018. That’s an annual rate of +2.1%. Most analysts had been expecting around a 0.2% contraction, which would’ve been the third quarterly minus out of the last five.

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Trade Wars Have Arrived, But It’s Trade Winter That Hurts

There is truth to the trade war. That’s a big problem because it’s not the only problem. It isn’t even the main one. Given that, it’s easy to look at tariffs and see all our current ills in them. The Census Bureau reports today that the trade wars have definitely arrived. In March 2019, US imports from China plummeted by nearly 19% year-over-year.

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China’s Export Story Is Everyone’s Economic Base Case

The first time the global economy was all set to boom, officials were at least more cautious. Chastened by years of setbacks and false dawns, in early 2014 they were encouraged nonetheless. The US was on the precipice of a boom (the first time), it was said, and though Europe was struggling it was positive with a more aggressive ECB emerging.

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Coloring One Green Shoot

China’s Passenger Car Association reported last week that retail sales of various vehicles totaled 1.78 million units in March 2019. The total was 12% less than the number of automobiles sold in March 2018. This matches the government’s data, both sets very clear as to when Chinese economic struggles accelerated: May 2018.

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Downturn Rising, German Industry

You know things have really changed when Economists start revising their statements more than the data. What’s going on in the global economy has quickly reached a critical stage. This represents a big shift in expectations, a really big one, especially in the mainstream where the words “strong” and “boom” couldn’t have been used any more than they were.

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Meanwhile, Over In Asia

While Western markets breathed a sigh of relief that US GDP didn’t confirm the global slowdown, not yet, what was taking place over in Asia went in the other direction. There has been a sense, a wish perhaps, that if the global economy truly did hit a rough spot it would be limited to just the last three months of 2018. Hopefully Mario Draghi is on to something.

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More Of What Was Behind December, And Not Just December

As more and more data rolls in even in this delayed fashion, the more what happened to end last year makes sense. The Census Bureau updated today its statistics for US trade in November 2018. Heading into the crucial month of December, these new figures suggest a big setback in the global economy that is almost certainly the reason markets became so chaotic.

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Spreading Sour Not Soar

We are starting to get a better sense of what happened to turn everything so drastically in December. Not that we hadn’t suspected while it was all taking place, but more and more in January the economic data for the last couple months of 2018 backs up the market action. These were no speculators looking to break Jay Powell, probing for weakness in Mario Draghi’s resolve.

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…And Get Bigger

Just as there is gradation for positive numbers, there is color to negative ones, too. On the plus side, consistently small increments marked by the infrequent jump is never to be associated with a healthy economy let alone one that is booming. A truly booming economy is one in which the small positive numbers are rare. The recovery phase preceding the boom takes that to an extreme.

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China Going Back To 2011

The enormous setback hadn’t yet been fully appreciated in March 2012 when China’s Premiere Wen Jiabao spoke to and on behalf of the country’s Communist governing State Council. Despite it having been four years since Bear Stearns had grabbed the whole world’s attention (for reasons the whole world wouldn’t fully comprehend, specifically as to why the whole world would need to care about the shadow “dollar” business of one US investment “bank”) the...

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