L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

05 April 2007 Blog Home : April 2007 : Permalink

The Bush (Economic) Miracle

Courtesy of a comment at a post at the Economist's Free Exchange blog, I see a truly fascinating blog post about how much more successful GWB has been compared to his predecessor. It seems that under Bill Clinton US exports to China grew at an average annualized rate of 11.5% in his first term and 7.4% in his second one. Under GW Bush on the other hand exports to china have grown by 21.4% per annum. Ever so slightly more. In fact this leads on to a subsequent post at the same blog where the blogger gives a good and righteous smacking to the morons in congress who want to erect (more) protectionist trade barriers to stop chinese imports. The blogger has two fascinating graphs showing the growth of trade (in both directions) since 1985:

Value of U.S. Imports from China, and Doubling Periods, January 1985 to January 2007The logarithmic vertical scale may throw some off, but the growth of imports from China to the U.S. has grown exponentially in the recorded period, rising from 293.1 billion USD in January 1985 to 25,635 billion USD (or 25.6 trillion USD!) through January 2007.


Value of U.S. Exports to China, and Doubling Periods, January 1985 to January 2007[...]Here, we find that the value of what the U.S. exports to China has only fully doubled in value 3 times since January 2007[sic must mean 1985], rising from 319.2 billion USD in Janaury 1995 to 4,364 billion USD (4.3 trillion USD) in January 2007. What's really remarkable is the acceleration of the doubling rate clearly visible over the period from January 1985 through January 2007.

In other words while imports from china have grown exponentially their rate of growth has remained constant (imports doubling roughly every 42 months). On the other hand US exports to China, although starting at a higher point, started growng at a slower pace (indeed even declining) but their rate of growth has increased significantly going from a doubling in 10 years in the first decade to a doubling in 3 more recently. If the US rate of growth remains at 36 months then it won't be many years before the trade balance between the two nations is roughly equal or in the USA's favour.

Interestingly, according to the table on page 3 of this EU trade statistics PDF, in the period 2001-mid 2006, the EU's imports from China have increased at an average rate of 18%, similar to the USA rate, whereas the exports have changed at a Clinton era rate of 14% compared to a Bush era USA rate of 24%. I can't find anything much better than this PDF even thought page 4 of the same document is different and worse for the EU (a Yuan:Euro exhange rate issue?). Other documents I have found include this paper covering 2000-2004 with similar figures and this huge PDF with import and export data for 1995, 2000-2005 (PDF page 33/34) and elsewhere statistics for 1996-2005 (which again conflict somehow - exchange rates?). The EU's trade figures also seem to be remarkably volatile with both export and import rates swinginging dramatically year on year.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin