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- July 26, 2012 -

 
     
 

Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: US Trade Deficit with China Continues to Grow

 

Annual Numbers are Bad Enough, but Cumulative Deficit Since 1999 is Staggering; It Can't Last, Some Say - but it Does

 
     
 

By SCDigest Editorial Staff

 
 

 

It's not exactly fresh news, but below we take a fresh look at the US trade deficit with China in terms of goods. As can be seen below, using our new web chart technology, the annual deficit continues to grow, reaching $295 billion in 2011 up from$67 billion in 1999. (In fairness, the total deficit would be a little lower if services trade numbers are factored in).

That comes in at a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of an amazing 12.9%.

 

Still, with all the focus on reviving US manufacturing lately, these numbers do not look good, especially as the trend has continued so far in 2012. Although dropping a bit in May, the overall deficit numbers are running ahead of last year's pace, as imports from China continue to surge.

 

 

 

 

That data in a sense looks even more troublesome from a cumulative perspective. Since 1999, the US cumulative trade deficit with China has reached an incredible $2.4 trillion.

 

The good news of sorts is that is that these US currency reserves allow China to buy US bonds to support the budget deficit (for now, at least). The bad news is that the cash also allows China to invest in infrastructure projects internally and subsidies to manufacturers that keep the China economy growing at a brisk clip and gain competitive advantage - and to invest in Africa and elsewhere to gain influence and lock up natural resources.

 

It would seem this scenario cannot persist, but then people have been saying that for many years now with no change to the status quo.

 

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