I’m no expert in economic matters, but I just want to use my own personal logic to make sense of a few things that are currently happening. People are seeing that the Dollar is weakening as we speak, and the Yuan is growing stronger as we speak. Some people say weaker Dollar is a good thing because export will become more profitable. Furthermore, when export becomes profitable, it also drives up the manufacturing sector at home. That’s the theory for some people, but I feel that it’s way more complicated than this.
Since the United States isn’t a world manufacture hub — China is holding this title — the United States’ exports won’t matter as much unless the United States becomes the world manufacture hub. Sure, with weaker Dollar, the United States’ exports will become more competitive than before. The question is, will a little gain in competitiveness in exports spur the manufacturing sector at home? Meanwhile, weaker Dollar will make the United States’ imports a lot more expensive.
I think the United States currently imports a lot more than exports. The United States’ import is at $2.25 trillion and the export is at $1.45 trillion for the year of 2016, according to Wikipedia. If the United States’ exports continue to slack even with the weak Dollar and the imports continue to grow, the United States could face an even stronger trade deficit. For an example, manufacturer companies in the United States may have to import more expensive materials from the outside to manufacture products at home for selling across the world and at home. This may not make the products at home cheaper for homegrown consumers. Furthermore, this will increase the trade deficit in manufacturing sector if not enough products within the United States get to export to balance out the import costs.
Weak Dollar will increase less buying power for the Americans who go abroad for vacation, business, and so forth. Weak Dollar can make purchases of products from foreign companies through online websites or offline imports more expensive for the American consumers. For an example, I could be buying a music plugin from an online website which belongs to a French company, and with a weak Dollar, I could be paying more for this software.
I guess good things and bad things do exist even when the Dollar is weak or strong. Nonetheless, the most interesting question is can the United States fare better when the Dollar is weaker or stronger. In my opinion, weaker Dollar can help spur export a bit, but if the United States’ exports don’t carry the whole United States’ overall, long-term economy, then the weaker Dollar will be a very bad thing!
What about China? If the United States enters a trade war against China, China can increase import tariff costs for the products from the United States. This could hurt the United States’ export market because weaker Dollar would be neutralized by this move from China. Furthermore, China can also buy up weak Dollar on the cheap to make Yuan stronger if this would serve China’s agenda. Of course, stronger Yuan for China could make China’s exports look expensive. Still, from what I’ve heard, China is trying to spur demands at home to create a bigger home consumer market so China won’t be relying on too much from the export market. If this is the case, then cheap Dollar would be beneficial for China in a big way!
Stronger Yuan would allow Chinese who are going abroad to get more bang for the buck. Meanwhile, Chinese imports would become cheaper, and so China won’t have to spend so much money to import stuff. As China’s export market isn’t doing so bad and the imports get cheaper, stronger Yuan allows China to continue to reform her consumption market. Foreign companies would love to enter China’s bigger homegrown consumption market because China has 1.4 billion headcounts and growing. As China becomes an ever more important factor for foreign companies due to the size of Chinese population and market, China can begin to dictate tastes, styles, fashions, and so forth worldwide. Chinese culture will become ever more influential if Chinese market becomes the most important market in the world.
With a weaker Dollar and stronger Yuan, entering a trade war against China might be very bad for the United States! China can sanction the United States’ companies, entities, and so much more to crash the United States economy. Of course, a trade war would be bad for China too, because the United States’ imports from China do matter to China a lot. Nonetheless, as China doesn’t rely on the export market so much, a trade war between the United States and China won’t deter Chinese economic reform plan. After all, China wants to grow the homegrown consumption market! While growing a homegrown consumption market to rely less on the export market, China relies on the cheaper import market to balance out the reduction of Chinese exports. Weaker Dollar and stronger Yuan will allow China to transit from the export market to a service market, also to move to a higher value-added export market — all in all – making this transition in a smoother fashion.
In conclusion, I think China can make the best out of either weaker or stronger Dollar, and the United States — as long as the country stays less competitive — won’t be able to have the upper hand if a trade war occurs between China and the United States. Meanwhile, China can use stronger Yuan to buy cheap debts from United States’ weak Dollar to prop up China Yuan’s strength. This, in turn, will actually help China transits from a manufacturing to a service economy. As the low value-added market goes away in China, China has to accelerate the reform of the manufacturing sector at home so Chinese future export market will be more about high value-added products. Anyhow, if the United States isn’t going to be able to use the opportunity of a weaker Dollar to reform her economy somehow to make the United States’ economy more competitive against rivals such as China, in the long run other rivals will use the weaker Dollar as the opportunity to make their own economies a lot stronger.