Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's the global economy, stupid.

"It's the global economy, stupid," was the recent title to a story written by CNN assistant managing editor, Paul R. La Monica in November of last year.  In his article, Mr. La Monica showed that China's Hang Seng index and our S&P 500 index moved virtually in tandem in 2010.  Referring to China and U.S. he stated, "You need me, I need you." The concern is how China approaches the value of their currency.

The United States says that they believe China keeps the value of its currency, the yuan, artificially low.  And a cheap Yuan makes Chinese goods more affordable in the U.S., while U.S. exported goods are priced artificially high, keeping them out of reach of the mainstream Chinese marketplace.

The evidence is seen in our trade deficit.  China reported a $27.2 billion trade surplus in 2010 while the United States posted a $44 billion trade deficit.  The United States is still the largest economy with an estimated $14.6 Trillion dollar GDP in 2010.  In 2000, China was ranked 6th with a GDP of $1.2 trillion dollars, ahead of Italy, but less than France.  Since, then China's GDP has increased five-fold to $5.7 trillion dollars, passing even Japan and ranking as the second largest world economy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Austin, Texas first among U.S. Cities

Austin recently ranked first among all U.S. cities and 26th among all cities in the world based on the strength of business performance during the 2009-2010 recovery period. 

Some highlights from the Brookings Institution 52-page Global Metro Monitor report are below...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Meeting the Consul General from Turkey

I had the privilege to sit in on a luncheon presentation by Akil Oktem, Consul General of Turkey today and learned some very interesting facts about Turkey and that region.

Turkey is the bridge between East and West.
Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world; with a population of 73 million, it is roughly the size of Texas. In comparison, if Texas were a country, it would be the 12th largest economy in the world.  So Turkey is nothing to pass over lightly.

More significantly, is where Turkey is located.  As the Turkey is sandwiched between Europe to the northwest, Russian and Asia to the northeast, the Middle East to the south and southeast, and Africa to its southwest.  Honorable Mr. Oktem stated,

"Turkey is a stable island amidst a sea of  instability."