Political  Calculations

We're going to start solving the mystery of why economic growth in the U.S. was so unexpectedly strong in the third quarter of 2013 in a place you wouldn't necessarily expect: the ports of China.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States' exports to China surged in October 2013, which we can see in the dramatic spike upward in the year-over-year rate of growth of U.S. exports to that nation for the month:

But that's putting it mildly. Left unstated is that the U.S. set at all-time record for the value of its exports to China:

Even Reuters took notice, but didn't really appreciate the magnitude of the month's trade, as the news agency reported from the Chinese perspective:

(Reuters) - China's imports surged in October as exports grew at their slowest rate in months, suggesting efforts to tilt the economy toward domestic demand may be offsetting the external weakness that has dragged on economic growth this year.

Customs figures showed import growth of 28.7 percent year on year in October, well ahead of the 23.0 percent forecast and far in excess of September's 20.9 percent growth rate.

Headline growth in exports meanwhile was its most sluggish in eight months, but strip out the traditionally volatile month of February and October's growth of 15.9 percent was the slowest since November 2009 when they shrank.

"We were expecting quite a deceleration as external demand continues to decline in Western economies," said Donna Kwok, an economist at HSBC in Hong Kong. "But the key thing to look at here is the strength of the domestic demand factors as imports grew nearly 29 percent."


Political Calculations

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