Saturday, August 19, 2017

Chinese Export Prices to the U.S. Fall 0.9% in July, 2017.

The aggregate prices of products imported into the United States from China across all industries in July declined 0.9% over the last twelve months, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (EIUCOCHNTOT). The U.S. dollar appreciated 1.4% against the Chinese renminbi over the same period. This means that, broadly speaking, producing in China and selling into the United States is more profitable on a renminbi-basis than it was a year ago.

On a five-year basis, the compound annual growth rate of aggregate Chinese import prices into the United States has also been 0.9%. Over the same period, the U.S. dollar has appreciated against the Chinese renminbi 1.2% per year. Despite massive amounts of artificial credit creation in the Chinese banking system over the last five years, that new money has not flowed into domestic consumption that would drive up the prices of exports. Instead, that new money has flowed into excess capacity to supply a greater amount of goods.

The artificially suppressed price of money within China has funded a decades-long expansion of capacity within China far and above the needs of China’s domestic market or the international economy. In order to inhibit further expansion of capacity, the price of products exported from China will have to fall faster than the depreciation of the renminbi. Existing firms will not add capacity and new firms will not be created to supply markets with declining prices. The adjustment process will require a decline in the value of the renminbi to increase input costs for Chinese producers. As goods become less profitable, firms will supply fewer goods to the market. At the same time, prices within China need to fall further to allow consumer surpluses inside and outside of China to soak up the excess supply.