Economic Rebalancing

The global economy is horribly out of balance, with the United States going deeper into debt each year as a result of a huge trade gap. This blog describes the process of global economic rebalancing. If you have any comments or questions about the posts here, please don't hesitate to use the comments section.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Trends in the Trade Gap Numbers

The 2006 Trade Gap has been revised up to $765.267 Billion.
The 2005 Trade Gap was $716.730 Billion.

But now we've shown year over year declines for the past 5 months, with this January coming in $7.352 Billion below last January. Is the trade gap finally rebalancing? The biggest variable lately has been the size and value of oil imports and that clouds the picture. Meanwhile, the data appears to underscore the following, well established trends:

The rest of the world's economies are growing and developing rapidly, aiding exports.
We're going deeper in debt to fuel consumer spending, boosting some imports.

Consider:

Goods imports are barely up year over year (+$2.820 B).
Goods exports are way up (+$9.708 B).

We're exporting more industrial supplies (+$2.865 B), and importing less (-$2.348 B). (lower oil prices have much to do with this)

We're exporting more capital goods (+$4.029 B), while also importing more (+$2.610 B).

Auto exports are basically unchanged, while imports dropped (-$1.020 B).

Consumer goods exports are up (+$1,600), while imports are up even more (+3.248 B).

When will the US consumer finally hit the wall? That may be happening right now, with the collapse of the subprime mortgage lending sector. The suddenness of the collapse could spread fear into other credit markets where lenders have been far too aggressive, leading to further contractions.

We'll see if it finally puts a dent in consumer spending later this year. This is the path rebalancing mush eventually take: A major decrease in US consumption.

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