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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obsessions indulged

Kevin Rudd's latest media interview combines two of his favourite past times: making stuff up to prove a point, and being obsessed with China. To illustrate, here are two quotes from his latest interview:

JOURNALIST: Why are you now saying it’s inevitable we’ll go into recession given you previously refused to pre-empt official economic forecasts?

PM: Well it’s quite plain that we have seen most recently economic data from China, it’s quite plain that we have also seen the fact that during the first quarter of 2009, a range of data emerge from various economies around the world which have a direct influence on Australia, that most of that data has been negative...

and later:
And if you look most recently at the China data, while it wasn’t falling through the floor and there was some turning or at least arresting of the collapse, the impact on Australia of China’s economic performance - given it is our single largest trading partner - is clear.
Well okay, what is the latest economic data from China?
The Chinese central bank said Wednesday that the country's economic growth this year is on track to hit the government's target of around 8%, with an increasing number of private forecasters also taking a more optimistic view...

His comments continued a surge of optimism that has accompanied recent economic data. While growth in China's gross domestic product came in at just 6.1% in the first quarter, the worst quarterly figure in nearly two decades, other data indicated that the government's drive to boost bank lending and investment projects is starting to take effect.
How is it that Australia's Prime Minister interprets quarterly growth of 6 per cent in China as being a factor in Australia's recession?

Maybe it's Australia's accounts. Let's have a look at the latest DFAT trade figures available to us on the internet.

The February trade figures reveal that Australia's exports to China increased 10.9 per cent compared to February 2008 - an improvement in favour of Australia to the tune of $365 million. On the import side, Australia imported 18 per cent less from China compared to 2008, an improvement on Australia's balance sheet of $571 million.

In total, Australia's trade position with China improved during February to the tune of $936 million compared to the previous year.

Even more troubling, Kevin reveals his China obsession by ignoring our trade with Japan - still our largest export market. In February, while imports were steady, our exports to Japan collapsed 17 per cent (or $780 million) compared to the previous year. The collapse in exports to Japan really is a factor contributing to Australia's recession, and a situation for which you would expect the Prime Minister to have considerable concern, if not a passing familiarity.

Australia's trade relationship with China is clearly not a factor contributing to recession in Australia - in fact, it is mitigating it.

How on earth would anyone - apart from the most tunnel-visioned China-obsessed economic illiterate - see China's economic position as being a factor in Australia's recession?


Egg said...

Anyone who can pore over the Rudder's bureauspeak waffle deserves a medal, MM.

Boy on a bike said...

Remember how British Rail used to blame late trains on the "wrong type of snow" or the "wrong type of leaves"?

In non-PC speak, to Rudd, the Japs are the "wrong type of gook" - so he just ignores them. Same with the Koreans.

thefrollickingmole said...

Bot he really cant see past his own narrow obsessions can he?

Anonymous said...

I blame the journalists - they aren't over the issues they ask questions about, so Rudd snows them every time.

daddy dave said...

"tunnel-visioned China-obsessed economic illiterate"
... love it. Nasty but completely true.

blogstrop said...

From my reading of the China tea leaves ... things will remain relatively unpredictable in prospect but adamantly verifiable in retrospect. On the other hand ...

FeFe said...

I think Communist China wants to be talked about. Their need to be front and center belies their threats to the world market. The fact nations are willing to oblige belies their lack of spine.