Hello Chinese exports, good-bye U.S. jobs

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- For millions of unemployed Americans, the news about China's surging export market isn't necessarily cause for celebration, even if it might be a harbinger for global recovery.

Chinese exports surged 50% in May from a year earlier, easily trouncing expectations for a 32% increase, according to a Reuters report citing a leaked statement from a Chinese official.

This information is an unconfirmed sneak peak of China's official trade report, which is expected to be released Thursday.

"The Chinese exports are still growing briskly and that implies that the world economy has thus weathered the financial instability in Europe," said Moody's chief economist John Lonski.

But Lonski also pointed out a negative side.

"The very high rates in [U.S.] unemployment are, in part, a consequence of the loss of jobs to less expensive manufacturing operations in countries such as China," he said.

Lonski said the furniture manufacturing industry in the South has lost jobs in direct competition with China, contributing to the relatively high unemployment rates of 10.3% in Tennessee, 10% in North Carolina and 10.4% in South Carolina.

Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland, said this dynamic is being fueled, in part, by China's system of currency fixing, which keeps the yuan undervalued.

"By not letting their currency appreciate, it keeps their products artificially cheap at the WalMart (WMT, Fortune 500) and makes U.S. products artificially expensive in China," he said. "So that keeps out our exports and drives their sales here."

But Morici said that this system won't last forever and it could actually undermine China in the future just as it undermines the U.S. today.

"With currency being the way it is, Chinese exports are going to grow like gangbusters until there's no market left in the U.S., until there's so much unemployment in the U.S. we stop buying [their products,]" he said.

But investors seemed to take the news at face value sending Shanghai's SSE Composite Index Stocks 2.78% higher on the in response. The exuberance spread to Wall Street: The Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 all rallied by about 1%.

Not everyone shared in this exuberance. There's reason to doubt the leaked news on the Chinese export report, according to Marc Chandler, chief foreign exchange strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman: it might not be true.

"In my experience, I say that China doesn't leak," he said. "There's no doubt that the Chinese official said it - three different people heard him say it - but that doesn't mean that it's a genuine leak, and I wouldn't say it's a legitimate driver of the markets." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.12%4.18%
15 yr fixed3.25%3.21%
5/1 ARM3.48%3.32%
30 yr refi4.18%4.17%
15 yr refi3.30%3.21%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,042.90 -28.32 -0.17%
Nasdaq 4,493.39 -12.46 -0.28%
S&P 500 1,972.29 -5.51 -0.28%
Treasuries 2.51 0.02 0.68%
Data as of 6:38pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 14.79 -0.32 -2.12%
Bank of America Corp... 17.05 0.04 0.24%
eBay Inc 56.63 3.97 7.54%
Apple Inc 100.75 0.64 0.64%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.20 0.79%
Data as of 4:00pm ET

Sections

CNNMoney's Italian-American investing correspondents did a taste test of Olive Garden's food. They agree with hedge fund Starboard: It's not very appetizing. More

Even limited air operations could cost up to $4 billion a year, says a think tank, while large ground forces could cost $1.8 billion a month. More

Microsoft showed off the new Windows 10 at an event for business customers Tuesday. More

On Wednesday, 17% of First Green Bank's 66 employees will get a raise under the company's new "living wage" program. The guarantee: At least about $30,000 a year. More

This mom of four only makes $29,000 a year and is losing $400 a month because the state is garnishing her paycheck over a debt. Now she is about to be evicted from her apartment. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.