Tuesday, December 6, 2011

US Exports - Record Increase over Past Nine Quarters since Recession

Total US exports which have been responsible for close to 50% of US growth since the "official" end of the recession (June 2009) reached a new high of $180.4 billion in September as Europe's problems deepened and fear of more debt crisis in 2012 escalate.

Other good news included sales of US goods overseas have increased 29% in the 9 quarters of the recovery. This is the fastest growth in any economic rebound of the past 50 years which has been over shadowed by the continuing jobless recovery. This probably doesn't seem like great news to the many unemployed in the US, however long term it does speak to the increasing competitiveness of the US export engine as well as continuing demand from emerging markets.

The new focus on Asia by the Obama administration is not based solely on the reduction in US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. While exports to Europe are on a downward trajectory the emerging markets in Asia (most significantly China) continue to increase and account for 50% of the world economy. The US concern of a dominant China in the Asia Pacific region is part of the reason but China has been very active in South America & Africa as well as Asia. They lead with government backed businesses that provide government "aid" in return for access to oil and mineral rights. There have been many articles written on the bait and switch tactics of this approach and the value to citizens of these countries vs. the ruling elite and the environmental impact is up for spirited debate.

From a military perspective it would take decades for China to catch up to US military power, even with the planned trillion dollar cuts over the next decade now on the table. However as an economic power they continue to be an increasing force that bears great opportunity for US business as well as a fight for market share. It will be interesting to see if demand increases in 2012 throughout the developing world even though the central banks in China and India have raised borrowing costs to try and tame inflation as well as a housing boom in China that has bust potential in it.

Check out the Bloomberg article: Record U.S. Exports Led by Caterpillar seen in World Markets.

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