The United States has a classic multilateral trade imbalance. While it runs a large trade deficit with China, it also runs deficits with 87 other countries. A multilateral deficit cannot be fixed by putting pressure on one of its bilateral components. But try telling that to the US' growing chorus of China bashers.The US' massive trade deficit is a direct consequence of an unprecedented shortfall of domestic saving. The broadest and most meaningful measure of a country’s saving capacity is what economists call the “net national saving rate” - the combined saving of individuals, businesses and the government. It is measured in “net” terms to strip out the depreciation associated with ageing or obsolescent capacity. It provides a measure of the saving that is available to fund expansion of a country’s capital stock, and thus to sustain its economic growth.In the US, there simply is no net saving any more. Since the fourth quarter of 2008, the US’ net national saving rate has been negative - in sharp contrast to the 6.4 per cent of GDP averaged over the last three decades of the twentieth century. Never before in modern history has the world’s leading economic power experienced a saving shortfall of such epic proportions.
5 de novembro de 2011
America's other 87 deficits - Opinion - Al Jazeera English