Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Recession Felt Around the World

Nouriel Roubini for Foreign Policy:

In an era of globalization, no country is immune when the United States falls onto hard times. Here’s a look at how economies elsewhere will fare.

The Losers:

Mexico and Canada: Living next door to world’s biggest economy has its advantages, but it has big drawbacks, too. Exports to the United States represent about a quarter of each country’s GDP, so direct trade links will bear the brunt of a slowdown. Expect the manufacturing sectors of both countries to feel the pinch.

China: The world’s fastest-growing economy can’t help but be affected when the world’s largest economy slows down, since China relies on exports to the United States as one of its main sources of growth. In recent years, China has boasted double-digit growth. Officially, Chinese economists expect growth to slow down to 9 percent in the wake of a U.S. recession, but only if such a recession is mild, lasting two quarters. If the U.S. recession is severe—four quarters or more—and is centered on a faltering U.S. consumer who buys fewer Chinese goods, then China’s growth is likely to slow to 6 or 7 percent, a hard landing, indeed.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and South Korea: China gets raw materials such as timber and rubber from Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Other East Asian countries, like Taiwan and South Korea, send component parts to the mainland, which are then assembled into finished products that are shipped to the United States. Both groups of exporters are likely to fall—and fall hard—if a drop in Chinese exports to the United States leads to less Chinese demand for these goods and raw materials throughout Asia. Keep an eye on metals, coal, and food products in particular.

Latin America: Chile’s got copper; Brazil’s got minerals; Argentina’s got livestock and feed....MORE