Global economics: some things to think about

The Independent has a thoughtful analysis of the impact of the shifting economic balances globally, particularly the impact of the ‘twin Asian giants’, you know who. Worth a read and reflection, particularly since the author is discussing probabilities for the near future. I was particularly struck by the last paragraph,

The other way of looking at it is to note that a more broadly based global economy may be less prone to a loss of demand in any one sector. Thus even if the old developed world falters, the new one can take up the slack.

You have to be careful about this because much of the growth in the East is driven by the West, and in particular the US. The China/US trading relationship is crucial to both. If there were to be some rupture in that relationship, both would be gravely damaged. Asia trades with Asia too and on a growing scale, but Asian growth is not occurring independently of US growth. And since the relationship has not yet been "stress tested" we don’t know what would happen to the Chinese and other Asian economies were US demand to fall.

On the other hand, the Asia/ Asia trading links grow ever stronger. In another two or three years they will be stronger still. These are huge markets and they are getting bigger by the day. The question is whether it is possible to envisage a North American and European downturn without there being a corresponding downturn in Asia. Could the Asian economies just trade more with each other and make up for loss of demand in that way? No one knows the answer to that because it is a new situation: Asia will be relatively much more important than it has been in any previous cycle.

Update: Found a link that has the entire article, not behind a subscription barrier

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