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World Economy Heats Up but US Stays Very Chilly

Wednesday, 29 Jun 2011 09:09 AM

By Ashish Advani

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I took a short break as I moved my family to upstate New York. I wanted to get closer to the hub of activities, which seem to center around the East Coast in the United States. But I didn't take my eyes off the economic data coming from around the globe.

We saw the third revision to first-quarter U.S.GDP. A whopping 1.9 percent GDP growth, up from the previously announced 1.8 percent. I don't wish to be ungrateful and haven't forgotten the significantly negative growth rates of late 2008 and 2009. But frankly, this kind of growth cannot sustain any serious attempts at job creation. This lackluster atmosphere doesn't inspire companies to start hiring in droves.

While we sit here puttering with 1.8 percent or 1.9 percent growth, we are watching the rest of the world’s economic growth reignite. Granted, the rest of the world slowed down just a tad in the past couple of months, but the steam is building up and the non U.S. engine is beginning to rev up again.

South of us, Argentina is going great guns. Their economy grew by 7.1 percent year over year in April. While the forecast was for a slightly higher growth rate, this growth is fairly strong and the country seems to be on track for a good, solid 2011.

Brazilian growth has continued to remain strong through the year. The one fear of surging inflation, which could put brakes on its growth, has slowed down and isn't threatening growth rates in Brazil. So I expect solid results for the rest of the year.

Mexico’s trade data shows surprising resilience based on the expected slowdown due to Japan disruptions, but so far the data is healthy and getting better.

Moving to Europe, we see a mixed bag. While we have countries like Germany surging and France being relatively strong, we cannot seem to drown the cacophony of naysayers of the euro.

The absurdity of Greece grabbing global attention just blows me away.

Did you know that the size of Greece’s economy is about that of Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex? To put it into further perspective, the economy of New York City is about 3.5 times that of Greece. (Based on 2008 financial data).

So let’s not ignore Greece, but keep it in perspective to the scale of problems in the United States, where we have a $14 trillion debt problem and nearly all of the states in various stages of bankruptcy.
But I digress. Today we are talking about economic growth around the globe.

Let's move to my favorite region, Asia.

I am seeing amazing growth come out of Singapore. Last year, the GDP grew in incredible leaps and bounds. In the first quarter of this year, GDP expanded 8.3 percent year over year. In the fourth quarter of 2010, it rose 12 percent and posted hefty increases in the other three quarters last year.

Singapore is going gangbusters. And we still have plenty of upside left.

What is also fascinating is that the increase in the value of the Singapore dollar shadows that of the Chinese yuan.

In the past five years, the Chinese yuan (CNY) has increased in value against the U.S. dollar by 19 percent while the Singapore dollar (SGD) has increased by nearly 22 percent. And the good news is SGD is freely traded while CNY is hard to trade.

My strategy has been to buy selected outstanding stocks on the Singapore stock exchange, which gives me exposure to the Singapore dollar as well as exceptional growth in blue-chip Asian companies. I would strongly urge you to consider doing the same.

As you will agree, the globe is continuing to grow while we putter around politicking, the most important issue on our plate.

It's time to take decisive action and start real growth in America. But in the meanwhile, be prudent and participate in the world growth while America gets its act together.

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