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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Urban myths re: Ethanol and the '07/'08 Food Panic, Chinese Consumers and a Hard Landing

Two intriguing SEEKING ALPHA articles--excerpted below-- deal with two popular and apparently ill-founded beliefs, that (1) Chinese Consumers will provide sufficient demand to rescue their nation's
economy from a hard landing, and (2) burgeoning ethanol production precipitated  the Food Panic of 2007/2008.

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In "China's End Game - The Dark Side Of A Great Deleveraging" , Dee Woo explains that by and large, the incomes in China are deteriorating, forcing consumers pare spending nd increase savings.

So where's the real money ?
Right now, the biggest problem for China is that state enterprises and corporations have too much monopoly power over wealth creation and income distribution. Much of the GDP growth and the economic progress of special interest groups are made at the expense of consumers trapped in worsening relative poverty. If China's problems aren't solved, the faster the Chinese GDP growth, the less Chinese consumers will be able to support the expansion that is beyond their country's capacity, and the more export momentum China will need to sustain its growth. It is a vicious circle of global imbalance; even the revaluation of the Yuan will not be able to ratify it.
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In "A Look Back At The 2007/08 Global Food Panic: One Possible Lesson For Today", Tristan R. Brown explains...
U.S. corn ethanol production was not responsible for the increased prices of those commodities at the time; indeed... U.S. corn exports nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008 in response to the fall in global supply. The media and UN were blaming the extreme rise in global crop prices on U.S. corn ethanol production when the real cause was much more global in nature: changes in trade policy [i.e., restrictions of food exports] by a dozen countries on three continents.

BTW, Brown has another fascinating article about the possibility re: isobutanol production supplanting that of ethanol.  Why should we care ?  Isobutanol would be a better fuel additive, among other things. But read Brown's article.

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