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China, Trade, and the Ripples

By Steve Geary | 03/10/2019 | 1:24 PM

After establishing new trade surplus record with the U.S. in December, Chinese exports are collapsing. Statistics released on Friday—numbers released by China, not the United States—show that the expected realignment is underway.

China's politically sensitive trade surplus with the U.S. narrowed sharply, to $14.72 billion, in February, from $27.3 billion in January.  Now, these are numbers reported by the Chinese government, so some skepticism is in order.

“Dollar-denominated exports [by China] plunged 20.7 percent for the month of February from a year ago, missing economists' expectations of a 4.8 percent decline, according to a Reuters poll,” reports CNBC.

CNBC continues, “Dollar-denominated imports [by China] fell 5.2 percent in February from a year ago, missing economists' forecast of a 1.4 percent fall.”

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%. The latest employment statistics in the United States for February show non-farm job growth at a near standstill, according to the Labor Department; this may be an aberration, but it bears watching.      

U.S. Census Bureau statistics are still lagging due to the month-long government shutdown, so the best government sanctioned balance of trade numbers available are months old.

Bottom line: the supply chain in the United States remains healthy, logisticians appear to have realigned in anticipation of a collapse in Sino-U.S. trade, manufacturers seem to have found new sources of supply, and employment remains strong.

And China is getting nervous.

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About Steve Geary

Steve Geary

Steve Geary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, and is on the faculty at The Gordon Institute at Tufts University, where he teaches supply chain management. He is the President of the Supply Chain Visions family of companies, and Chief Operating Officer at ROSE Solutions, consultancies that work across the government sector. Steve is a contributing editor at DC Velocity, and editor-at-large for CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Executives and Professionals. In November of 2007, Steve was recognized for "Selfless Service to Our Nation and the People of Iraq" by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.



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