No Guarantees, No Trade: How Banks Affect Export Patterns
How relevant are financial instruments to manage risk in international trade for exporting? Employing a unique dataset of U.S. banks' trade finance claims by country, this paper estimates the effect of shocks to the supply of letters of credit on U.S. exports. We show that a one-standard deviation negative shock to a country's supply of letters of credit reduces U.S. exports to that country by 1.5 percentage points. This effect is stronger for smaller and poorer destinations. It more than doubles during crisis times, suggesting a non-negligible role for finance in explaining the Great Trade ...
Crude oil export ban benefits some … but not all
Lifting the U.S. ban on crude oil exports would alleviate a growing glut of oil at the Gulf Coast refineries and should eventually reduce retail gasoline and diesel prices, benefiting U.S. consumers.
No guarantees, no trade: how banks affect export patterns
This study provides evidence that shocks to the supply of trade finance have a causal effect on U.S. exports. The identification strategy exploits variation in the importance of banks as providers of letters of credit across countries. The larger a U.S. bank?s share of the trade finance market in a country, the larger should be the effect on exports to that country if the bank changes its supply of letters of credit. We find that a shock of one standard deviation to a country?s supply of letters of credit increases export growth, on average, by 1.5 percentage points. The effect is larger for ...
How did China’s WTO entry benefit U.S. prices?
We analyze the effects of China?s rapid export expansion following World Trade Organization (WTO) entry on U.S. prices, exploiting cross-industry variation in trade liberalization. Lower input tariffs boosted Chinese firms? productivity, lowered costs, and, in conjunction with reduced U.S. tariff uncertainty, expanded export participation. We find that China?s WTO entry significantly reduced variety-adjusted U.S. manufacturing price indexes between 2000 and 2006. For the Chinese components of these indexes, one-third of the beneficial impact comes from Chinese exporters lowering their prices, ...
Did Trade Finance Contribute to the Global Trade Collapse?
The financial crisis of 2008-09 brought about one of the largest collapses in world trade since the end of World War II. Between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, the value of real global GDP fell 4.6 percent while exports plummeted 17 percent, as can be seen in the chart below. The dramatic decline in world trade—a loss of $761 billion in nominal exports—came through two channels: decreased demand for imports and supply effects, most likely arising from financial constraints. In this post, we look at evidence that supply effects, including curtailed funding for ...
Would a Stronger Renminbi Narrow the U.S.-China Trade Imbalance?
The United States buys much more from China than it sells to China—an imbalance that accounts for almost half of our overall merchandise trade deficit. China’s policy of keeping its exchange rate low is often cited as a key driver of that country’s large overall trade surplus and of its bilateral surplus with the United States. The argument is that a stronger renminbi (the official currency of China) would help reduce that country’s trade imbalance with the United States by lowering the prices of U.S. goods relative to those made in China. In this post, we examine the thinking behind ...
Foreign Borrowing in the Euro Area Periphery: The End Is Near
Current account deficits in euro area periphery countries have now largely disappeared. This represents a substantial adjustment. Only two years ago, deficits stood at nearly 10 percent of GDP in Greece and Portugal and 5 percent in Spain and Italy (see chart below). This sharp narrowing means that spending has been brought in line with income, largely righting an imbalance that had left these countries dependent on heavy foreign borrowing. However, adjustment has come at a sizable cost to growth, with lower domestic spending only partly offset by higher export sales. Downward pressure on ...
Crisis Chronicles: The British Export Bubble of 1810 and Pegged versus Floating Exchange Rates
In the early 1800s, Napoleon?s plan to defeat Britain was to destroy its ability to trade. The plan, however, was initially foiled. After Britain helped the Portuguese government flee Napoleon in 1807, the Portuguese returned the favor by opening Brazil to British exports?a move that caused trade to boom. In addition, Britain was able to circumvent Napoleon?s continental blockade by means of a North Sea route through the Baltics, which provided continental Europe with a conduit for commodities from the Americas. But when Britain?s trade via the North Sea was interrupted in 1810, the boom ...
Falling Oil Prices and Global Saving
The rise in oil prices from near $30 per barrel in 2000 to around $110 per barrel in mid-2014 was a dramatic reallocation of global income to oil producers. So what did oil producers do with this bounty? Trade data show that they spent about half of the increase in total export revenues on imports and the other half to buy foreign assets. The drop in oil prices will unwind this process. Oil-importing countries will gain from lower oil bills, but they will also see a decline in their exports to oil-producing countries and in purchases of their assets by investors in these countries. Indeed, ...
Did the West Coast Port Dispute Contribute to the First-Quarter GDP Slowdown?
The decline in U.S. GDP of 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015 was much larger than market analysts expected, with net exports subtracting a staggering 1.9 percentage points (seasonally adjusted annualized rate). A range of factors is being discussed in policy circles to try to understand what contributed to this decline. Factors such as the strong U.S. dollar and weak foreign demand are usually incorporated in forecasters' models. However, the effects of unusual events such as extremely cold weather and labor disputes are more difficult to quantify in standard models. In this post, we ...