Thursday, July 12, 2012

More on Latin American dependence

Kudos to the MSM for picking up the obvious argument that the economic relationship between Latin America and China is characterized by dependence. I've been writing about this ad nauseum. Here is some reality:

Analyzing the breakdown of trade with China, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists found that exports from most Latin American countries are concentrated in a few primary products, such as copper in Chile and oil seeds in Argentina. 
They are also more volatile in price than industrial goods, which are shrinking as a share of export revenue. 
Since 2001, exports of manufactured goods have dwindled as a share of total exports in Latin America's top seven economies as fuels and mining products have boomed. Brazilian manufactured goods made up more than half its exports in 2001, but accounted for 35 percent in 2010, according to WTO data.

What I don't get is why such analyses are presented as if they are new or surprising. It does not take a corporate economist to "find" that Latin America still relies heavily on the export of primary products. As one author wrote in 1922, "Agriculture and mining, of course, still constitute the main industries of Latin America." Ironically that book, published 90 years ago, was entitled The New Latin America. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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