Have U.S. tariffs on Steel and Aluminium imports really increased domestic production?

We wrote about the economics behind the 25% tariff on Steel imports and 10% tariff on Aluminium imports to the United States earlier this year. One of the main justifications of the tariffs were that they will increase domestic production. Some statistics released earlier this week provide an answer to whether the tariffs have really increased domestic production.

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Germany accounts for almost all the intra European Union current account surplus plus the European Union posts a record external current account surplus with the U.S.

Sixteen members of the European Union recorded current account surpluses, eleven current account deficits and one was in current account balance in the second quarter of 2018 for the total (intra-EU plus extra-EU) current account balances of the European Union (EU28) Member States.

The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (+€63.8 bn), the Netherlands (+€16.8 bn), Italy (+€10.5 bn), Ireland (+€10.2 bn) and Denmark (+€3.6), and the largest deficits in the United Kingdom (-€20.7 bn), Romania (-€2.6 bn) and Belgium (-€2.4 bn).

EU current account balance member states Q2 2018
Source: Eurostat

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The story of UK trade with the European Union for the last two decades

We have been publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom and the European Union over the last few weeks in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit. This is the final piece before we publish our post on the real economics of Brexit.

How reliant is the United Kingdom on the European Union for trade? The answer to that is around 52% in 2017 (down from 59% in 1998 and 55% in 2008). 48% of UK exports go the European (EU) Union but 55% of UK imports are from the European Union. Exports to the EU have been decreasing but imports have been increasing. 69% of the trade deficit of the United Kingdom can be attributed to trade with the European Union.

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Are major exporter countries to the United States really manipulating their currency to boost exports?

The Euro Area, China, Canada, Mexico and Japan together account for over 70% of U.S. trade. Have these countries (including the Euro Area group of countries) manipulated their currencies to boost exports? In this century (2000 onwards) the Chinese Yuan, the Canadian Dollar and the Euro have appreciated against the dollar. The Japanese Yen has been largely unchanged against the U.S. dollar since the start of this century and only the Mexican Peso has weakened against the dollar.

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UK Trade Statistics for trade by each product (and split by EU and non-EU trade) plus interactive tool for trade by each country

We will be publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom (and the European Union) over the next few days in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit. In the meanwhile, here are trade statistics for trade by each product for the United Kingdom for 2017 (the latest full year of data available) sourced from the Office for National Statistics.

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Do nations with balance of payments or trade surpluses really outperform those with deficits?

Does a balance of payment (or trade) surplus equate higher growth? Not necessarily, Australia which has had deficits for over forty years has grown faster than Germany which has had over forty years of surpluses. Does a current account surplus (i.e. exports greater than imports) mean a nation is doing better than other nations with current account deficits? The answer is no, what really matters is why the deficits exist.

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U.S. Trade Statistics for January to June 2018 – exports up 9.67% as imports up 8.66%, EU largest trade partner, China replaces Canada as second largest trade partner

U.S. trade with the world has grown despite tariffs and tariffs rhetoric in the first half (January to June)  of 2018. There is one point of view that trade grew to avoid tariffs before they were implemented which might be partially true. Here are the key takeaways and the dataset,

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The European Union (and not China or the United States) accounted for the most trade in goods and services combined together

We will be publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom (and the European Union) over the next few days in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit.

The European Union (EU28 or EU) accounted for around one sixth of world trade in goods in 2016, with a 16.3% share of exports and a 15.0% share of imports. Turning to services the EU28’s contribution to world trade (mainly due to the United Kingdom which is leaving the European Union) was even greater, totalling 24.7% of exports and 21.1% of imports.

EU Share of total world trade
Data Source: Eurostat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)

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UK Trade Statistics for trade by each country

We will be publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom over the next few days in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit. In the meanwhile, here are trade statistics for the United Kingdom for 2016 (the latest full year of data available) sourced from the Office for National Statistics.

The top 5 countries for total trade value were Germany (£95.67 billion), the United States (£84.09 billion), the Netherlands (£53.93 billion), China (£52.51 billion) and France (£44.40 billion)

UK total trade by country in 2016
Data Source: Office for National Statistics

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The European Union just posted a record trade surplus with the United States (and a record trade deficit with Russia) for the January to May 2018 period

The first estimate for the European Union exports of goods in May 2018 was €160.9 billion, down by 2.7% compared with May 2017 (€165.4 bn). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €160.7 bn, down by 1.4% compared with May 2017 (€163.0 bn). As a result, the European Union recorded a €0.2 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in May 2018, compared with a surplus of €2.3 bn in May 2017. Intra-European Union trade rose to €294.7 bn in May 2018, +1.6% compared with May 2017.

In January to May 2018, the European Union exports of goods rose to €786.6 bn (an increase of 1.5% compared with January-May 2017), while imports rose to €795.7 bn (an increase of 1.6% compared with January-May 2017). As a result, the European Union recorded a deficit of €9.1 bn, compared with a deficit of €8.1 bn in January-May 2017. Intra-European Union trade rose to €1457.3 bn in January-May 2018, +4.6% compared with January-May 2017.

EU Trade chart until May 2018
Source: Eurostat

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