Exports & Local Economies

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Fascinating interactive graphic and article in the WSJ today on exports. The weak dollar has been a Godsend during the US downturn.

Excerpt:

Much of the world may be struggling with the economic downturn, but life has been getting better in Columbus, Ind., Kingsport, Tenn., and Waterloo, Iowa.

These out-of-the-way places have become trade hot spots as U.S. exports, fueled by the dollar’s fall, continue to provide a rare spark in an otherwise gloomy economy.

While many economists expect a recent snapback in the value of the dollar and a spreading global slowdown to soften that growth, exports have become a key to greater local prosperity more than at any time in decades…

Export-driven growth marks a dramatic shift in an economy that has relied heavily on consumer spending. That has slowed in recent months as Americans, nervous about job losses, teetering banks, falling home values, and rising gasoline and food prices, have tightened spending. Against that background, exports have emerged as a powerful motor.

The dollar has recently begun edging back up against key currencies, but it remains far below the levels it hit earlier in this decade, when a strong dollar was widely blamed for suppressing U.S. exports.


What’s so fascinating about this is the US dollar just hit a one year high. If the ECB begins cutting, or if the dollar continues to rally, we could see the export sector significantly impacted.

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Sources:
Exports Prop Up Local Economies
TIMOTHY AEPPEL
WSJ, September 11, 2008; Page A1   
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122108254548620951.html

Exports Prop Up Manufacturing Jobs 
Real Time Economic June 6, 2008, 1:52 pm   
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/06/06/exports-prop-up-manufacturing-jobs/

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