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The Shrinking Global Economy, In Three Charts

Economics / Global Economy Jan 11, 2016 - 07:33 AM GMT

By: John_Rubino

Economics

Regular contributor Michael Pollaro offers three more charts which tell a story that's both disturbing and apparently misunderstood by a lot of mainstream analysts.

The US trade deficit (exports minus imports) has been getting smaller. Since a trade deficit subtracts from GDP growth, a shrinking deficit will, other things being equal, produce a bigger, faster-growing economy (that's the mainstream take).


US Balance of Trade

But other things aren't equal. It turns out that the components of that trade balance figure are both shrinking. Exports -- the stuff we sell to foreigners -- have been declining since the dollar spiked in 2014. That's not a surprise, since a strengthening currency makes exports more expensive and thus harder to sell. So other countries are buying less of our stuff, which though not surprising is a bad sign.

US Exports

Meanwhile, imports -- stuff we buy from abroad -- have also plunged in the past year, which is partly due to cheaper oil lowering the dollar value of energy and other commodity imports. But it also means that even though French wine and German cars have become less expensive as the dollar has soared against the euro, we're not buying more of them. So US consumers, even with all the money they're saving at the gas pump, still can't (or won't) take advantage of a sale on imported goods.

US Imports

If imports and exports are both falling, that means consumption is weak pretty much everywhere. And weak consumption means slow or negative growth, which contradicts the recovery thesis that now dominates policy making and the financial media.

It also makes last week's market turmoil easier to understand. Falling trade means lower corporate profits, which, if history is still a valid guide, means less valuable equities. So it could be that the markets are simply figuring this out and revaluing assets accordingly.

By John Rubino

dollarcollapse.com

Copyright 2016 © John Rubino - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


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