China doing more to help the global economy than Germany

In an article published by Quartz, Tim Ferholz argued that China is cooperating more with the rest of the global economy than Germany.

China doing more to help the global economy than Germany

World Bulletin / News Desk

One of the underlying problems that led to the global recession was the US relying too much on borrowing from the rest of the world and China relying too much on lending. That played out in both countries’ trade patterns: The US ran big deficits, and China huge surpluses. In the brief period when the world’s 20 largest economies were working closely together through the G20, they agreed to fix this problem: China would stimulate domestic demand and the US would work on fixing its trade balance.

This chart shows how this worked out. It gives you a clue, by showing exports of goods and services as a percentage of each country’s total economy (Germany is included):

Today, we saw the US trade deficit shrink to its smallest level since 2009 in November — a mere $34 billion. This outcome was thanks largely to America’s recent oil boom driving a record $195 billion in exports. That reflects a small but real rebalancing, shown in the chart above as a 2.5 percentage point increase in exports as a share of GDP since 2006. China has done even more. It reduced exports as a share of its economy by 12 percentage points, a feat made more impressive by the fact that its economy has continued to grow tremendously.

Looking at the difference between advanced and emerging economies, we can see how much rebalancing there already has been in China. Its exports were close to 35% of its GDP, now it is close to 25% of GDP.  According to economist Pankaj Ghemawat, China has really rebalanced to a fairly significant extent. He told Quartz that ”[That is] one of the reasons why world trade is a bit lower than it otherwise would be—if China simply maintained its share, we might be setting all-time highs of trade as a percentage of GDP. It’s a positive change compared to Germany, looking at the data, to rebalance within Europe the way the Chinese had already done.”

Germany has also been encouraged to rebalance its economy toward domestic demand as part of the cure for the euro crisis, which is exacerbated by the fact that disparate European economies share a single monetary policy. As long as Germany exports far more than it imports from its regional partners, they will face a hard slog growing enough on their own to shed their heavy debt loads. But Germany’s reliance on exports has only increased in recent years, surging to a full 51% of GDP in 2012.

That would suggest, at least on this issue, that China is cooperating more with the rest of the global economy than Germany.

Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2014, 10:50
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