Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Coming Slowdown in China?

by Calculated Risk on 6/17/2008 06:21:00 PM

From Bloomberg: Yuan Extends Gains to 20% Since End of Peg Before Paulson Talks

The yuan extended gains to 20 percent since China ended a fixed exchange rate to the dollar in July 2005 ... The currency climbed for a fifth day, reaching 6.8909 per dollar. The yuan's advance since the peg was scrapped compares with a 29 percent gain for the euro against the dollar, 13.2 percent for the British pound and 4.7 percent for the Japanese yen.
From Professor Krugman: The world gets bigger
Many people have noticed that higher fuel prices are putting the brakes on globalization: if it costs more to ship stuff, there will be less shipping.

How big is this effect? ...

[A] very back-of-the envelope calculation using CIBC estimates of the fuel cost effect gives me a 17 percent contraction in trade if oil prices stay at current levels for a long time.
And from the NY Times: Labor Costs Rise, and Manufacturers Look Beyond China
China remains the most popular destination for foreign industrial investment in the world, attracting almost $83 billion last year. But ... [there are a] long list of concerns about China ... inflation, shortages of workers and energy, a strengthening currency, changing government policies, even the possibility of civil unrest someday. But most important, wages in China are rising close to 25 percent a year in many industries, in dollar terms, and China is no longer such a bargain.
Just some food for thought ...