Category Archives: Imports

19/8/19: Import Zamescheniye: Replacing Imports with Imports in the Age of Trade Wars


Trump trade wars have led to increasing evidence of substitution by Chinese exporters to the U.S. with exports via third countries and supply chain outsourcing from China to other destinations. While direct evidence of these trends is yet to be provided (data lags are substantial for detailed flows of goods across borders) and is never to be treated as fully conclusive (due to differences in trade goods designations), here is some macro-level snapshot of latest data on U.S. imports shares for selective countries:

The chart above shows that based on trends, U.S. imports arrivals from China are down in 2017-2019, and they are up, significantly for Vietnam and Taiwan, with less pronounced evidence of imports substitution from other Asia-Pacific countries.

Given several caveats (listed below), the above chart is a 'messy' one:

  1. Supply chain substitution takes time and may not be fully reflected in the 2018 data, or to a lesser extent, in 2019 data to-date; and
  2. The above chart is based on monthly frequency data, which is volatilion (e to begin with.
With these caveats in mind, here is a chart based on annualized data:


Now, it is easier to spot the trends:
  • China exports to the U.S. are down, sharply, especially considering pre-Trade Wars averages against Trade Wars period 2019 averages;
  • Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico are major channels for trade/import substitution (using Kremlin's term "import zamescheniye").
  • Japan and Thailand are smaller-scale winners.
  • Malaysia and Indonesia are basically static.
Now, historically, China has been beefing up its corporates' use of Vietnam, Thailand, and Mexico as platforms for supply chain diversification, which is consistent with the data responses to the Trade Wars. Indonesia and Malaysia are two surprises in this, although both experienced uptick in FDI from China in late 2018, so the data might not be showing these investments, yet.

17/1/19: U.S. Imports Demand and Final Household Consumption


A great post from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco blog (https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2019/january/how-much-do-we-spend-on-imports/) showing estimates for total imports content of the U.S. household consumption, with a break down of imports content across domestic value additive activities and foreign activities.

Key results: “Our estimates show that nearly half the amount spent on goods and services made abroad stays in the United States, paying for the local component of the retail price of these goods. At the same time, imports of intermediate inputs make up about 5% of the cost of production of U.S. goods and services. Overall, about 11% of U.S. consumer spending can be traced to imported goods. This ratio has remained nearly unchanged in the past 15 years”.



Note: Top bars in both panels are computed directly from PCE and headline trade data. Bottom bars in both panels reflect authors’ adjustments to account for imported content of U.S. goods and U.S. content of imported goods.


The above shows that imports play far lesser role in the U.S. households' consumption than popular media and public opinion tend to believe. This, in part, explains why Trump tariffs war with China has had a very limited adverse impact on domestic demand in the U.S.

17/1/19: U.S. Imports Demand and Final Household Consumption


A great post from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco blog (https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2019/january/how-much-do-we-spend-on-imports/) showing estimates for total imports content of the U.S. household consumption, with a break down of imports content across domestic value additive activities and foreign activities.

Key results: “Our estimates show that nearly half the amount spent on goods and services made abroad stays in the United States, paying for the local component of the retail price of these goods. At the same time, imports of intermediate inputs make up about 5% of the cost of production of U.S. goods and services. Overall, about 11% of U.S. consumer spending can be traced to imported goods. This ratio has remained nearly unchanged in the past 15 years”.



Note: Top bars in both panels are computed directly from PCE and headline trade data. Bottom bars in both panels reflect authors’ adjustments to account for imported content of U.S. goods and U.S. content of imported goods.


The above shows that imports play far lesser role in the U.S. households' consumption than popular media and public opinion tend to believe. This, in part, explains why Trump tariffs war with China has had a very limited adverse impact on domestic demand in the U.S.

17/5/16: Euro Area Exports of Goods Down in 1Q 2016


Euro area trade in goods data for 1Q 2016 is out today and the reading is poor.

On annual basis (not seasonally-adjusted figures), extra-EA19 exports of goods were down in 1Q 2016 to EUR485.8 billion from EUR492.0 billion a year ago, a decline of ca 1% y/y. Imports - sign of domestic demand and investment - dropped 3%. As the result, EA trade balance for goods trade only rose from EUR46.8 billion in 1Q 2015 to EUR53.9 billion in 1Q 2016.

Out of the original EA12 countries, Ireland was the only one posting an increase in extra-EA19 exports in 1Q 2016 compared to 1Q 2015 (+3%), while the largest decrease was recorded by Greece (-20%) and Portugal (-17%).

On a seasonally-adjusted basis (allowing for m/m comparatives), exports extra-EA19 fell from EUR167.3 billion in February 2016 to EUR165.1 billion in March 2016, reaching the lowest point in 12 months period. Due to an even sharper contraction in imports, trade balance (extra-EA19 basis) rose to EUR22.3 billion from EUR20.6 billion.


More details here: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7301989/6-17052016-AP-EN.pdf/70c12e75-2409-44f5-9403-fdb3eb816d1a