What's behind volatile import prices from China?
In a sharp departure from earlier trends, the price of U.S. imports from China rose 6 percent in the 2006-08 period. To explore the forces behind this surprising increase, the authors create a new import index that uses highly disaggregated data to track price developments in different product types. The index reveals that the largest price increases were concentrated in industrial supplies - goods that rely heavily on commodity inputs. The authors conclude that the surge in commodity prices through mid-2008 was the primary driver of the rising import prices from China.
How much do bank shocks affect investment? Evidence from matched bank-firm loan data
We show that supply-side financial shocks have a large impact on firms' investment. We do this by developing a new methodology to separate firm-borrowing shocks from bank supply shocks using a vast sample of matched bank-firm lending data. We decompose loan movements in Japan for the period 1990 to 2010 into bank, firm, industry, and common shocks. The high degree of financial institution concentration means that individual banks are large relative to the size of the economy, which creates a role for granular shocks as in Gabaix (2011). As a result, bank supply shocks?that is, movements in ...
China’s Impact on U.S. Inflation
U.S. import prices of consumer goods shipped from China have been moderating in recent quarters, following an upward surge of 11 percent between mid-2010 and the end of 2011. These price changes have far-reaching consequences for U.S. businesses and consumers, because China is the largest single supplier of imports to the United States, accounting for more than 20 percent of nonoil imports and more than 30 percent of consumer goods. In this post, we track U.S. import price movements in different product categories from China by constructing import price indexes that use highly disaggregated ...
Will the United States Benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
U.S. involvement in what could be one of the world?s largest free trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), has garnered a lot of attention, especially since the entry of Japan into negotiations last year. The proposed free trade agreement (FTA) encompasses twelve countries, which combined account for 45 percent of U.S. exports and 37 percent of U.S. imports. This broad coverage of U.S. trade seems to suggest large potential gains for the U.S. from the agreement. However, three quarters of this trade is already within the U.S. free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico (the ...
Has Market Power of U.S. Firms Increased?
A number of studies have documented that market concentration among U.S. firms has increased over the last decades, as large firms have grown more dominant. In a new study, we examine whether this rising domestic concentration means that large U.S. firms have more market power in the manufacturing sector. Our research argues that increasing foreign competition over the last few decades has in fact reduced U.S. firms’ market power in manufacturing.
Why the Proposed Border Tax Adjustment Is Unlikely to Promote U.S. Exports
There has been much debate about the proposed border tax adjustment, in which U.S. firms would pay a 20 percent tax on all imported inputs and be exempt from paying taxes on export revenue. The view among many economists, including proponents of the plan, is that the U.S. dollar would appreciate by the full amount of the tax and thus completely offset any relative price effects. In this post, we consider the implications of an alternative scenario where the U.S. dollar only appreciates part of the way. This could happen, for example, as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the policy ...
Consumer Goods from China Are Getting More Expensive
We find that, in a sharp reversal of earlier trends, U.S. import prices for consumer goods shipped from China have been rising rapidly in recent quarters—by 7 percent between 2010:Q2 and 2011:Q1. In this post, we track U.S. import price movements in Chinese goods in different product categories by creating an import index that uses highly disaggregated data. We also consider the likely causes of the recent rise in prices for consumer goods. If these price hikes persist, they could have important consequences for U.S. businesses and consumers because China is the largest single supplier of ...
Do Import Tariffs Help Reduce Trade Deficits?
Import tariffs are on the rise in the United States, with a long list of new tariffs imposed in the last few months—25 percent on steel imports, 10 percent on aluminum, and 25 percent on $50 billion of goods from China—and possibly more to come. One of the objectives of these new tariffs is to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, which stood at $568.4 billion in 2017 (2.9 percent of GDP). The fact that the United States imports far more than it exports is viewed by some as unfair, so the idea is to try to reduce the amount that the nation imports from the rest of the world. While more costly ...
U.S. Market Concentration and Import Competition
A rapidly growing literature has shown that market concentration among domestic firms has increased in the United States over the last three decades. Using confidential census data for the manufacturing sector, we show that typical measures of concentration, once adjusted for sales by foreign exporters, actually stayed constant between 1992 and 2012. We reconcile these findings by linking part of the increase in domestic concentration to import competition. Although concentration among U.S.-based firms rose, the growth of foreign firms, mostly at the bottom of the sales distribution, ...
The Impact of Import Tariffs on U.S. Domestic Prices
The United States imposed new import tariffs on about $283 billion of U.S. imports in 2018, with rates ranging between 10 percent and 50 percent. In this post, we estimate the effect of these tariffs on the prices paid by U.S. producers and consumers. We find that the higher import tariffs had immediate impacts on U.S. domestic prices. Our results suggest that the aggregate consumer price index (CPI) is 0.3 percent higher than it would have been without the tariffs.