Stanford’s Lazear: China’s Currency Manipulation Not Cause of Poor US Job, Wage Growth

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 07:56 AM

By June Manning

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The growth of exports from China and the rest of the world is the result of several factors and not just the manipulation of Chinese currency, according to Edward Lazear, a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush and a professor at Stanford.

Writing in an article for The Wall Street Journal, Lazear said he believes the value of China's yuan in terms of the dollar is not the primary reason why China exports more than three times as much to the United States as we do to them.

Instead, he said, U.S. economic policy has a greater impact on the disappointing job and wage growth in the United States than does the value of China's currency.

Editor's Note: Prophetic Economist Warns: “It’s Curtains for America.” See Evidence.

For instance, Lazear noted, since the dollar-yuan exchange rate did not change from 1995 to 2005, as China held its currency steady at slightly more than 8 yuan to the dollar, China's exports to the United States should have held steady but instead increased sixfold, or approximately 19.6 percent per year

From 2005 to 2008, the value of the yuan relative to the U.S. dollar appreciated by approximately 21 percent. Rather than falling, since China's currency was "stronger" and its exports in dollars were more expensive, China's exports to the United States continued to rise at nearly the same pace, averaging 18.2 percent per year.

Exports from China to the United States did decline significantly during the recession, by about one-third from late 2008 to early 2010, but Lazear said the reason for this was the decrease in demand for consumption goods in general.

Further evidence demonstrates the role exchange rates play in trade when one compares Chinese exports to Europe with those to the United States.

From the end of 2000 until the end of 2004, Lazear wrote, Chinese exports to Europe should have risen relative to those to the United States since the exchange rate between the United States and China remained constant at 12 cents per yuan and the exchange rate between China and Europe fell.

However, growth in Chinese exports to Europe averaged 35 percent per year, as the yuan cheapened for Europeans, while Chinese exports to the United States average 32 percent per year throughout the same period.

What does determine trade activity, he said, is mostly the size of the trading countries and by the distance between them.

"As countries grow and acquire more 'mass,' so to speak, they attract more exports from others," he wrote. "At the same time, other countries tend to import more from larger countries."

While China is indeed a currency manipulator, he noted that so are all countries that maintain a fixed or a close-to-fixed ratio of their currency relative to the dollar, the euro or gold.

Peter Navarro, a business professor at the University of California, Irvine, and producer of the documentary "Death By China," told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that China's foreign exchange policies are stealing markets from the United States, killing jobs here and hampering growth rates.

"What we have seen is, prior to 2001 for 5 ½ decades, our GDP grew at a rate of 3.5 percent. Since China joined the World Trade Organization and entered our markets, that growth rate has fallen to 1.6 percent," he said.

Slower growth means the U.S. is missing out on creating 2 million jobs a year due to slower growth rates and offshoring industries — 20 million jobs over a decade.

"Now here's the kicker: if we had those jobs and that growth, we wouldn't have a budget deficit. When Bill Clinton left office, he left with a surplus and we had a decade basically of 3.5–4 percent growth," Navarro noted.

"The budget deficit is largely a product of our slow growth over this decade and our slow growth is largely a product of China's stealing our market."

U.S. exports to China increased 23.1 percent in October, the most recent data available, according to Reuters. Imports from China jumped 6.4 percent to a record $40.3 billion, increasing the U.S. trade deficit with China to a record $29.5 billion from $29.1 billion in September.

Editor's Note: Prophetic Economist Warns: “It’s Curtains for America.” See Evidence.

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