“Trump is correct: German surplus is bad news for everybody else”

Roger Bootle ist Chairman von Capital Economics, dem britischen Forschungsinstitut, welches den wohl einzigen brauchbaren Plan zur Auflösung des Euro vorgestellt hat. Jeden Montag schreibt er über grundlegende ökonomische Fragen im Telegraph. In dieser Woche haben es ihm die deutschen Handelsüberschüsse angetan. Es ist für Leser von bto nichts Neues, dennoch eine gute und wichtige Erinnerung daran, dass unsere Sicht auf das Thema leider völlig daneben ist.

  • “Does Donald Trump have a point on trade? (…) Germany (…) is running a surplus on its current account of over 8pc of GDP. This is what lay behind President Trump’s recent outburst at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, describing German trade practices as very, very bad.” bto: entsprechend fassungslos in unseren Medien kommentiert.
  • “The problem (…) extends beyond Germany. The workings of the single currency have turned the whole eurozone Teutonic. The eurozone’s external surplus now exceeds the combined surpluses of China and Japan. Germany and the euro are the source of the world economy’s greatest imbalance.” bto: Und das schreibt kein Irrer …
  • Interestingly, there has been support for the German position on trade from some economists. They say that the US’s external deficit is not connected with trade practices in Germany or any other country but is rather the inevitable outcome of the imbalance between American savings and investment. In short, Americans collectively do not save enough.” bto: was auch stimmt!
  • Of course, it is true that the US is under-saving or, if you like, over-spending. (…) Suppose that the US imposed a tariff on imports and that this had the effect of diverting demand to American-made products. Given available spare resources, this increased demand would increase American incomes and employment. Increased incomes produce increased savings. So there is a mechanism through which a change in behaviour set off by changes in competitiveness and/or policy reduces the deficiency of savings that is definitionally implied by the external deficit.”bto: Das muss auch inhaltlich nicht so falsch sein.
  • Avariant of the argument about the centrality of savings behaviour ascribes the US external deficit particularly to the US fiscal deficit (…) Those who take this view argue that if the American government reduced its spending and/or increased taxation (that is, reduced its negative saving) in order to reduce its budget deficit then, hey presto, the external deficit would also fall back.”bto: Auch das trifft zu.
  • But the consequent contraction of demand would also depress the American economy.”bto: richtig.
  • (…) Germany tends to save quite a lot and yes it produces some wonderful goods for export. But the German surplus is far from being inevitable. Over and above these factors, it arises from the interaction between tight German fiscal policy and the gains to competitiveness that have occurred to Germany as a result of being part of the single currency. The latter cannot easily be undone, unless Germany leaves the euro.”bto: Das erklärt, weshalb die Eurokrise zurzeit nur unterdrückt, aber nicht gelöst ist.
  • Germany is currently running a budget surplus that is due to grow over coming years. (…) Looser German fiscal policy would mean a lower German national saving rate and, as a result, a lower external surplus.”bto: Zudem wäre das in unserem Interesse!

bto: Der Druck in diese Richtung wird zunehmen und wir können nur hoffen, dass die Politik endlich die richtigen Schlüsse daraus zieht.

 The Telegraph: „Trump is correct: German surplus is bad news for everybody else“, 4. Juni 2016