Tuesday, October 14, 2008

USA Still in Better Shape than Overseas

Brett Stephens at the WSJ points out that despite the Wall st. meltdown, things are better here in the US relative to foreign shores. The Dow has dropped 25%, but the Germany's XETRADAX is down 28%, China's Shanghai exchange is down 30%, Japan's NIKK225 down 37%, Brazil's BOVESPA down 41% and finally the Russian RTSI down 61%.

The bailout costs?

"Last month's $700 billion bailout package seems staggeringly large, but it amounts to a little more than 5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Compare that to Germany's $400 billion to $536 billion rescue package (between 12% and 16% of its GDP), or Britain's $835 billion plan (30%). Of course it may require considerably more than $700 billion to clean out our Augean Stables. But here it helps that the ratio of government debt to GDP in the U.S. runs to about 62%. For the eurozone, it's 75%; for Japan, 180%."

Stephens also points out that the US has the largest direct inflows of foreign capital, has a much more transparent financial system overall, ranks third in the World Bank's ratings on ease to do business (behind only Singapore and New Zealand) and does not face the kind of demographic crisis which Europe, Russia, China and Japan are shortly to face, where aging populations will put intense pressure on the wokring age population for transfer payment support.

This is not to say there are not problems, we likely face a recession, which could be the most severe since the one in the early 80s. but America has faced its issues much sooner than Europe and Japan and is likely to recover that much faster as a result. In other words, the glass is still half full.

No comments: