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Posts Tagged ‘exports’

Previously, I uncovered that the CIA is overstating Canada’s government spending by more than 200%, by inconsistently reporting all government spending for Canada, and only federal spending for the U.S., despite both having a federal system of government.

Looking through Canada’s numbers again, I noticed its massive exports hemorrhage from 2008 to 2009. This time, the CIA’s numbers are correct.

From Canada’s entry in The World Factbook:

Exports:
$323.4 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$459.1 billion (2008 est.)

Exports decreased by a whopping 30% from 2008 to 2009, despite the downturn not hitting Canada hard until September 2008, when, as one example, the Canadian dollar declined by 20% relative to the USD in less than a full month.

By comparison, U.S. exports “only” fell by 14% from 2008 to 2009, despite officially being in recession since December 2007.

The CIA states that export figures are stated in U.S. dollars based on the official exchange rate. Given an estimated GDP of $1.335 trillion for 2009, Canada’s exports only accounted for 24% of its GDP. Imports for 2009 were estimated to be $327.2 billion, resulting in net exports of -$3.8 billion.

In a forthcoming article, I’ll expand on my discussion from July 1 on “Crash! Are You Ready?” on why claims of a higher dollar being bad for exports are overly simplistic, and how it’s been completely counterproductive for Canada’s central bank and leading politicians to be slavishly devoted to keeping the Canadian dollar below par with the USD. In doing so, they argue for and support government intervention for 24% of the economy at the expense of the other 76%.

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History shows that when the CAD was in the low 60-cent USD range in 2002, it was a great time for those holding USDs to convert some of them into CADs, as in just five years, the CAD reached parity with the USD, for an annualized gain of over 12%.

Then there was the 20% drop in the CAD in less than a full month from September to October 2008, which made it another great buying opportunity.

However, given a CAD in the mid 90-cent USD range, I don’t see many gains coming from the CAD in the medium or long-term, and the reason is the historical policy of the Bank of Canada in intentionally keeping it below parity with the USD.

Here is an article from January about the Bank’s current governor, Mark Carney, chiding a reporter expressing comfort with a 96 cent CAD. The Bank governors, prime ministers, and unfortunately, most Canadians, have this unfortunate notion that the CAD should stay below the USD in value, since it “hurts exports,” despite the fact that exports account for less than half of Canada’s total GDP.

For short-term hedging, it’s possible for the CAD to go on a tear, up to $1.10 USD, as it reached in November 2007, but personally, I wouldn’t count on getting many gains from that versus other investments, until the CAD is down into the 80-cent and low 90-cent USD range.

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Germany exports a lot more than good beer and good cars.

From the latest edition of TheĀ  World Fact Book we see that Germany is the world’s largest exporter, followed by China.

Germany had an estimated $1.53 trillion USD in exports in 2008 and China had an estimated $1.456 trillion USD in exports in 2008.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2078rank.html

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