2010-10-26

Export/import och "valutakrig"

G20 Currency Accord Collapses Under the Weight of its Own Contradictions

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appeared fixated on US trade at last weekend’s G20 Summit in South Korea.
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But is the optimal policy truly to target current account imbalances? No. The right policy response is to work toward a full employment policy by vastly expanding fiscal policy. The US government is fully capable of doing this on its own without any global cooperation.
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It is true that many of us have been saying for years that exports are a cost and imports a benefit, so therefore the US should maximize net imports. We have got absolutely no traction with this argument because it is a contingent statement, true only at full employment.
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The latest data from the US western ports indicate that the American economy has gone from a very rapid pace of expansion in exports on a sequential and year on year basis to small declines in exports on a year on year basis and more severe declines on a sequential basis
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The upshot is that Beijing is going to be hit with the collateral damage via a trade war. Their economy’s dependence on export growth represents a clear and present danger. So the Chinese are doing themselves no favors by maintaining the pegged rate regime, which they should abandon as soon as possible — largely for their sakes, not ours.

"Consider the following: According to the Hurun report on China’s wealthiest individuals, 95% of those on the rich list earned their money by focusing on domestic consumption; just 5% are export moguls."
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At a basic level, the incoherence in the American proposals is symptomatic of a broader policy making problem when one operates from a flawed paradigm. Policy makers like Tim Geithner have long been clueless on domestic federal budgets. This time around, however, his focus on current account imbalances might be logical, but only as the stupid outgrowth of a misguided understanding of public reserve accounting.
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The irony, of course, is that when China does begin to enact policies that allow its population to fully consume the fruits of its own economic output, then we’ll be paying a lot more for basic stuff. Remember how great it felt to be paying $5.00 per gallon for gas during the oil price spike in the summer of 2008? That’s going to be child’s play compared to what’s ahead. But we aren’t taking advantage of the gift that China is giving us. And things will only get worse, because we remain prisoners of a 19th century gold standard mentality.
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1 comments:

Björn Nilsson sa...

När Kina bestämmer sig för att verkligen sätta fart på den inhemska efterfrågan kan man fråga sig vad som händer. För att klara av det måste de importera en hel del råvaror, men i övrigt bör de klara av att producera det mesta hemma. Kinas råvaruköp och handel kommer att riktas mest mot andra länder i Tredje världen (och kanske svensk järnmalm får vara med på ett hörn), men här ser det ju ut som om USA mer eller mindre kommer att bli avhängt. Vem kommer att behöva USA? Det blir Kina som i förbigående delar ut lite pengar av sina överskott till konkursande stater i Europa. Telefonerna slutar ringa i Washington. Nästan ingen ringer dit utom Carl Bildt, och honom har de ändå ingen lust att prata med.

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