Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.The Trump Reset, US Empire's Coming Economic, Cyber and Military War With China (2/2) - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Now Is the Time to Buy Gold - 5th Jan 17 - John Grandits
3.CIA Planning Rogue President Donald Trump Assassination? Elites "Manchurian Candidate" Plan B - Nadeem_Walayat
4.The Trump Reset - Regime Change, Russia the Over Hyped Fake News SuperPower (Part1) - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Most Popular Financial Markets Analysis of 2016 - Stock Market Crash Postponed Again - Nadeem_Walayat
6.No UK House Prices Brexit Crash 2016 Despite London Weakness, Forecast 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.President Trump Understands the NSA, CIA... LIE, America's Intelligence Agencies Crime Syndicate! -Nadeem_Walayat
8.President Donald Trump's 2017 New Year Message, BBC Fake News, Was 2016 a Dream? - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Major Stocks Bear Market Still Looms - Zeal_LLC
10.Biased 2017 Forecasts - Debt, Housing and Stock Market (1/2) - James_Quinn
Last 7 days
Bitcoin and Gold - Outlook, Volatility and Safe Haven Diversification - 17th Jan 17
Stock Market Uptrend on Borrowed Time - 17th Jan 17
The One Stock to Retire On - 17th Jan 17
Trump anti-Communist Counter Revolution - 17th Jan 17
US Stock Market Update as the Trump Inauguration Approaches - 17th Jan 17
The American Crisis - Common Sense 2017 - 17th Jan 17
Obama Leaves, Hope Arrives, Will Stupid Stay? - 17th Jan 17
Damage Inflicted by Precious Metals Manipulation Is in the “Multi Billions” - Keith Neumeyer - 17th Jan 17
Gold Price Forecast 2017 Update - Video - 17th Jan 17
The Story of the U.S. Regime Change Plan in the Philippines - 16th Jan 17
Gold Price 2017 Trending Towards $1375 as Forecast - 16th Jan 17
'Deep State' CIA Director States We are Not NAZI's, Warns Trump Does Not Understand Russian Threat - 15th Jan 17
UK House Prices Forecast 2017 - Crash or Bull Market? - Video - 15th Jan 17
SPX Stocks Bull Market Update - 14th Jan 17
President Trump vs the Deep State that Hides in Plain Sight - 14th Jan 17
The Impact of Sir Alex Ferguson's Retirement on Man United's Share Price - 14th Jan 17
What Can Stock Market Tell You About Politics? - 13th Jan 17
Big Gold Buying Coming 2017 - 13th Jan 17
A Bullish Case for Gold 2017 - 13th Jan 17
Will Stocks Bull Market Continue to Charge or is it Time to Sell the News - 13th Jan 17
Gold and Silver Off To Shining Start to 2017 - 13th Jan 17
Gold’s Fundamental Outlook for 2017 - 13th Jan 17
Is trading stocks and shares just as luck-based as roulette? - 13th Jan 17
Trump CIA Like Nazi Germany - Fake MI6 Intelligence leaked to Fake News Mainstream Media - 13th Jan 17
USD in Decline. SPX and TNX May Follow - 12th Jan 17
CIA War On Trump - Leaks Fake MI6 Intelligence to Fake News Broadcast Media - 12th Jan 17
Registered Address.co.uk London Business Registered Office Address Mail Forwarding Review - 11th Jan 17
13 Contrarian Economic Predictions For 2017 - 11th Jan 17
10 Potential Black Swans and Opportunities for the US Economy in 2017 - 11th Jan 17
How to Get a Bird of Paradise Plant to Flower - UK Growing Video - 11th Jan 17
The No.1 Energy Stock To Buy Right Now - 10th Jan 17

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

What Can Stock Market Tell You About Politics?

The Great American Economic Rebound Has Just Begun

Economics / Economic Recovery Feb 13, 2013 - 02:23 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Economics

Martin Hutchinson writes: The U.S. manufacturing renaissance is not just a fantasy - it is actually happening. Jobs that had been outsourced to China and elsewhere really are returning to the United States.

Believe it or not, this "reshoring" already has reversed the long, steady decline of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

In fact, since 2010 America has added roughly 500,000 manufacturing jobs, an increase of 4.3%.


The economic and investment implications of this reversal are considerable to say the least.

With the disadvantages to manufacturing overseas growing each year, it's no wonder reshoring is beginning to become a major trend.

One of the drivers is cost-especially as it relates to "cheap Chinese labor." As it turns out it's not that cheap anymore.

Three Keys to a Manufacturing Resurgence
According to an HSBC study quoted in the Financial Times, real wages in China's coastal areas have risen 350% in the last 11 years. Demographics are only accelerating the trend toward higher wages.

Last year, China's working age population fell for the first time, by 3.5 million to 937.5 million.

That means the endless supply of young workers from farms in China's rural areas is drying up, pushing China's wages up even further. Already, the country's balance of payments surplus has disappeared, and China's manufacturing costs, adjusted for productivity, have increased from 20% of U.S. costs to some 50%.

That still gives China an advantage in direct labor costs, but the additional costs of international sourcing must also be considered. When transportation, duties, supply chain risks, and other costs are fully accounted for, the cost savings of manufacturing in China begins to diminish.

In any case, unless there's a major downturn in China, its overall competitiveness is likely to continue to decrease.

Of course, the more excitable commentators like to claim that China's cost increases alone will push manufacturing back to the U.S. But the truth is that's nonsense.

Here's why.

There are many other low-wage emerging market countries with decent political and economic stability, all of which have had their competitiveness enhanced by the same Internet and mobile telephony that has pushed Chinese outsourcing ahead.

As such it only follows that the return to U.S. manufacturing from rising Chinese costs alone would be modest.

But there's another factor involved here - and this one is home grown.

The second thing bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. is the rise of fracking techniques for the immense U.S. shale gas deposits. That's different than the oil shale fracking which is unlikely to affect U.S. competitiveness much, because oil can be transported fairly readily (though in the short term excess production from Canadian tar sands has made oil much cheaper there).

However, gas is expensive to transport without an infrastructure of pipelines, which don't exist in most places. With the arrival of shale gas fracking, the United States now has a substantial energy cost advantage for applications which can efficiently use gas to supply energy for local plants--especially those near these shale gas formations.

Finally, in the long run a third U.S. cost advantage may reappear. It is the cost of capital.

With the world's most advanced and developed capital markets, the U.S. has traditionally had the lowest cost of capital- combining the lowest cost of debt with the greatest ease of raising equity for medium-sized companies.

Unfortunately, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have lost this U.S advantage. By making money easy to get at cheap rates, they have driven the banking system and international investors to invest in emerging markets, lowering their cost of capital artificially.

Whereas previously their cheap labor was offset by expensive capital, today their labor is still cheap, while their capital is also a little more expensive than in the U.S. For instance, when the near-bankrupt, impoverished socialist Bolivia can borrow $1 billion for 10 years at less than 5%, the U.S. capital cost advantage has effectively disappeared.

Of course, with some countries it's not coming back.

China has $3 trillion in foreign reserves and a very high savings rate. Under those circumstances it's going to get all the capital it needs at a cheap price.

But lesser countries, like Vietnam, India and most of Africa, will find capital expensive again once U.S. monetary policy has stopped creating money artificially. That will increase the cost advantage of U.S. manufacturing, at least in some cases.

Of course, who knows when Bernankeism will finally end. My guess is that a crisis will precipitate a return to sanity, but of course emerging markets will suffer in that crisis, as they did in 2008.

How to Invest in the Manufacturing Renaissance
To judge where to put a factory in the U.S. and get the best cost advantage, you need to look at where the gas is, and also where the workforce is abundant.

North Dakota, for example, is unlikely to get a big influx of factories from the Bakken shale. There are barely enough people there to get the gas itself out, and the boom has pushed the unemployment rate down to 4% and brought a massive housing shortage.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania (and parts of New York and Ohio) have the gigantic Marcellus shale and lots of unemployed workers. However in these states there's another problem: Heavy unionization and no right-to-work laws which makes labor expensive and potentially recalcitrant. My guess is, these states will benefit less than they should from shale gas manufacturing.

The best bets are places like Michigan, where there is the substantial Antrim shale, but also a new right-to-work law, reducing the power of the unions and making labor potentially cheaper.

With high unemployment and good manufacturing capabilities, Michigan could see major manufacturing investments in coming years. Similarly Texas has gas, a steady supply of workers, a right-to-work law and a favorable business climate; it should benefit accordingly.

As for individual companies, it's worth researching in detail, bearing in mind that a modest return to U.S. manufacturing won't benefit General Electric (NYSE:GE) much, for example, because of its size.

However, you might look at the big chemical companies like Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) (based in Midland, MI) which recently split from the National Association of Manufacturers because of the latter's support for natural gas exports.

That's because the chemical business by its nature is gas intensive. Obviously for companies like DOW, if the gas can't be exported, it becomes cheaper here in the U.S.

You might also look at Irving,Texas-based Fluor Corp. (NYSE: FLR) , which will get a large chunk of any business building chemical plants and its share of industrial construction in general.

The great American rebound has just begun.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2013/02/13/the-great-american-rebound-has-just-begun/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2013 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife