International Trade in Global Financial Crisis

The subprime crisis of the big power has led to the global financial crisis. It seems that such an expression overstates the strength of the big power. But we cannot ignore the economic globalization which makes economic communities connect with and affect each other positively or negatively.

In the financial tsunami hitting every corner of the world, what are the status quo and future trend of international trade?

First of all, it is necessary for us to look at the trade chain:

– raw materials
– finished product processing firms (manufacturers)
– (suppliers – trade companies)
– logistics companies
– importers
– wholesalers
– retailers
– end consumers, financial service providers such as banks, and Internet platforms for international trade led by Alibaba.

On the chain, all the elements are interactional and can transmit to each other. Price transmission is a key element. Rate of exchange influences trading price. We can begin with importer, one of initiators of trade. With the global financial tsunami seeming to gradually calm down, a procurement manager working with a large company that was founded one hundred years ago talked about their current situation: we are now facing extremely high pressure in retail and need to reduce retail prices of our products in market.

The manager urges suppliers to cut down price with three simple reasons:

1. Against the background of current financial crisis, prices of raw materials have decreased;

2. Significant reduction in prices of energy products such as petroleum means lower freight and storage cost; and

3.With the decreasing and stable amplitude of the financial crisis wave, rate of exchange will tend to level off and rise.

Then why do suppliers need to reduce their prices? Because the consumption end of commodities is facing much lower purchasing power of the country due to the financial crisis. The information from the consumption end is that the consumer confidence index goes down and end consumer groups (including corporate and individual procurement) reduce their costs, expenses and consumption. With such a weak market, merchants can only use price reduction as their sharp tool to stimulate consumption. Merchants promote psychologically by enabling consumers to buy the same goods as before with less money. Wholesalers and retailers in the middle of the chain deliver goods on the chain from one level to another. During this course, they gain profits and ensure normal circulation of goods. Their sensitivity to price and inventory leads to importer’s action mentioned above. As for wholesalers facing high retail pressure, lower purchasing power and weak sales, price is the only and effective solution to improve sales.

As for consumables, those who are able to provide the market with inexpensive commodity with proper quality will have a large market share, no matter they are wholesalers or importers. This is low-price transmission resulting in larger trade volume. With increasingly stable financial community, trade will tend to be active and large in size when consumers have suitable savings and their purchasing power and consumption confidence index rise. Maybe experts and scholars then will conclude that the crisis has ended and economy begins a recovery journey. When it comes to the bulk commodity market, economists say that its bull market has ended since crude oil price peaked. Those people trading at the peak of the bull market have made a great loss due to substantially lower price. The time for them to recover from such a loss may be longer than that for the crisis to come to end. Therefore, goods at low price will be favorites of people in a certain period of time.

Next, we will discuss the price transmission from the perspective of suppliers. With the global financial tsunami directly leading to significantly shrunken trade volume, it is truly a thorny problem to retain customers while continuing to make profit and reducing risks and losses in such an environment. To maintain its normal operation, supplier may adjust prices of its products or accept orders and deposit foreign exchange if rates of exchange fluctuate narrowly, waiting for further stabilization and rebounding of exchange rate. They look like those who are bundled to stocks purchased at high prices and wait for being unbundled and reducing loss. Prices of products from suppliers will be influenced by that of raw materials. It can not be ignored that the crisis directly makes many small-and-middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) go bankrupt, or stand on the verge of bankruptcy, or reduce their employees. As an Internet trade platform, Alibaba, which has a close relationship with those SMEs, said that the next few years will be a winter in its operation. A lot of SMEs get orders, generally small ones, through Alibaba. Due to the crisis, there are no longer any small orders from Alibaba for those SMEs. With the economic depression caused by the crisis ensuing the global inflation and big ups and downs of price, the lack of orders has directly led to huge loss of SMEs, especially for those who focus on export trade. As a result, there is a bankruptcy upsurge of SMEs that operate on a high-cost-and-low-price basis. The bankruptcy and shrinkage of SMEs have directly affected the proceeds of Alibaba that mainly provides services for SMEs. Considering this point, the financial crisis also leads to early coming of the winter of Internet Business-to-Business E-commerce. Internet E-commerce seeks for breakthroughs in a new operational mode while waiting for its spring.

What about logistics companies between importers and suppliers? Suppliers or importers have a direct business relationship with those logistics companies. Significantly shrunken volume of freight causes the over-capacity of those shipping companies and forwarders. There is even zero trade freight for transporting goods to the countries near the ocean. In fact, freight is paid by importers. However, for now, transport cost is significantly lower than ever before. Similar to sea-borne and air-borne shipment, international express business has witnessed a big drop in delivery of samples and documents resulted from decrease in trade. It can be seen that most parts of the influenced trade chain will incur loss. What about banks? It is impractical to say that the destruction in trade will lead to weaken business of banks. At most, banks will have less volume of business in loans and export bill purchase. It is financial derivatives that are affecting banks, seemingly not in the same field as trade.

Financial crisis is a situation where the capital chain of financial system breaks. Superficially, there is not enough currency in an economic system. Actually, the reason is that the circulation of currency is not good. Superficially, companies or merchants do not have funds or lack funds and cannot get loans from banks. Money can not flow freely. These have led to the fact that companies go bankrupt, or reduce their size of production, or even slow down their trade expansion. The shrinkage in production and manufacturing industry can be seen directly from less orders and substantially reduced procurement volume of importers. On the side of retailers, they sell their inventory as soon as possible, sell at discounted prices to recover cash, and control inventory or even keep zero inventory. As the financial turbulence hit normal trade circulation, it results in the big fluctuation of exchange rate and depreciation of currency. As a result, the procurement cost will be higher. Trade is hit severely by both increase of purchasing cost and decrease of purchasing power. At this time, merchants need inexpensive goods more than ever before to compensate the loss caused by the financial shock. If the sales volume of low-price goods soars in one country or region, trade friction between trading countries will come forth, without exception during the time of financial crisis. If there are too many imported goods in a country, this will directly lead to the rise of trade protectionism and more trade barriers that violate the principle of free and fair trade. In the previous crises, countries set trade barriers to hold back low-price goods from exporters, with the purpose to protect its local industries from being hit, to lower unemployment rate, and to avoid spread of crisis to a larger scope. Such measures based on individualism will conversely further the depression of global economy. The measures, aimed at protecting domestic or local companies, are not good for recovery from a crisis. It will take longer for the economy to recover when it falls to the bottom. In this financial crisis, headlines of newspaper report that governments have invested a huge amount of money to rescue the market and central banks have greatly lowered interest rate consecutively to stimulate economy, drive consumption, avoid long-time economic depression, abate financial fluctuation and reduce the huge damage brought about by the crisis. At this very moment, it is both a risk and an opportunity for international trade. Risk means that companies and banks may go bankrupt at any time while opportunity means that consumers of the world need more low-price goods. The bull commodity market of the world has ended. It seems to tell us that people need to have more inexpensive goods with good quality when facing lack of money.

Under such an economic environment, how do companies on the trade chain face the situation? After each crisis, there are cheap shares and assets everywhere. It is perfect time for companies to reconstruct, merge and acquire. Those companies with abundant cash flow will expand and develop themselves at this time through the measures mentioned above. Exporters shall seize opportunities to cooperate with international brand companies. Strength of low cost will play a more important role in future trade.

7 Keys to Turn a Financial Crisis Into Your Best Opportunity

This is a simple article about one family (ours!) who dared to dream big 4 years ago and finally climbed out of financial ruin. Many families, including ours, were in financial crisis long before the wall street meltdown and current economic concerns hit. A growing majority simply don’t have enough cash to make ends meet, much less investing in their future. Combine this with the recent job losses and you have a recipe for a major financial crisis.

Finding opportunity amidst the financial crisis involves thinking about your situation in a brand new way.

What is it that you’re after?

The way money relates to “freedom” lies in the ability to devote your life to causes that you deem as more soul serving than working to make ends meet. Whether you are after just a little more each month or getting to a position where you no longer have money worries, each family can generate what they are looking for with some focused attention on a few key factors.

Our family is working towards financial freedom and early “retirement.” As the children of parents who have had very little financial success, my husband and I have seen how years of money worries can smother hopes and dreams. We knew we wanted to avoid repeating the same circumstance in our lives, however, without understanding a few basic rules of financial wellness we made a mess of our own finances soon after getting married.

There is a silver lining in all crisis though. Financial meltdowns can serves a huge opportunity for you and your family with some work and a fresh perspective.

Why is a financial crisis your best opportunity?

The problem with being constantly cash strapped is that over time it can seriously affect how you perceive opportunity in the world.

I’m going out on a limb to say that since there is no shortage of opportunity, a limited perspective is one of the major reasons why it is so hard for families to recreate their bank balance. A limited perspective makes it very hard to overcome obstacles and hardship. The comforts of stability do not require much personal growth and learning so a crisis of any kind is amplified by how ill prepared a person is to handle it.

We lived for 4 years on the verge of bankruptcy and nothing sucked more than being a slave to our own circumstance! The good news is that a financial crisis turns your life upside down. Crisis has always motivated people to make great changes in their lives and your financial crisis can be the same gift of change, if you choose.

The following 7 keys will help you see a financial crisis from a new perspective and turn it into your best opportunity:

1.  Accept Personal Responsibility.

Regardless of the perceived cause of your crisis, accept responsibility for it. To quote a popular saying, “you cannot change what you don’t accept.”  While external situations may have caused additional hardships, take back control for the fact that the solution now lays in your hands.

If your financial slop has been brewing over a longer period of time, begin to ask yourself probing questions about how you view money, yourself, success and other successful people to greater understand why opportunity may continuously elude. (I’ll include a book list for the next article which will help you probe deeper into this.)

The main point is that people who are personally responsible no longer feel scammed, cheated or defeated because they take advantage of each situation as a learning opportunity. Become solution oriented and forget spending time thinking about things that do not change your circumstance.

2.  Don’t Rely On Others To Make It Easier.

As soon as you decide that you cannot rely on others for your financial well being, you will no longer accept less than you deserve. Are you holding out for a little while forsaking the opportunity to Be and Have more?

We soon realized what a huge motivator “rock bottom” can be! Continuous “help” from others is a problem because it  serves as a band-aid that only delays the need to hit “rock bottom” and become resourceful enough to figure out a solid plan of action. While assistance can be a lifesaver for the short term, don’t exchange it for the reward of being able to choose how you want to live.

3. Accept that There Is No “Secret” Formula.

Call it the “lottery mentality” in the age of  instant gratification. We, along with so many people were waiting for the “big reveal” on what it takes to be financially independent. There must be something they’re not telling us? One of our biggest moments of personal growth was realizing that we too can have the same success as others. There is no “secret” that we need be privileged enough to have access to!

All of the highly successful people we have come into contact with have only been willing to do a few key things that others are not willing to do.

Financial independence comes with a price though. There is a price to pay for everything. Do you have the discipline to delay your gratification in order to make sacrifices with your time and effort until you reach your goals?

4. Study To Grow Larger Than The Problems You Face.

Most of us eventually arrive at our destination not because we’ve intended it to be this way but because we’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. You can be sure that the one thing that greatly influences every financial decision in your home is your own personal mindset about money. Use this crisis as an opportunity to understand how your thinking differs from those who are in the financial position you want to be in.

Thinking about our personal views on success and money was a lot of fun although frustrating and shocking to admit that we had some pretty “poor” ways of seeing ourselves. Once you begin to shift your perspective you will be in a much better position to take steps towards fixing your financial situation.

5. Invest In Yourself First.

YOU are the best return on your money. If you want to break past the ceiling or plateau of J.O.B. income then it pays to invest in yourself.

Consider starting a business. You don’t need to bet the family farm to gain big rewards either. Start small. If you don’t have a business yet, consider that the only way to build something for the future is to generate multiple streams of income. Begin with one additional income stream outside your current job or income source.

Examine your financial goals, talents and passions and then take some steps to invest in yourself and your future.

6.   Learn To Take Calculated Risks.

The day we finally became sick and tired of our limited choices was the day we decided to take our first bold steps towards a new life. We were able to risk what others do not because we felt we didn’t have much to lose. Despite popular advice, we chose to risk it all because the life we had would always be waiting for us if we “failed.”

Do you take the risks required to advance towards your dreams? When you do take a risk and it doesn’t provide the results you seek, does the cynic take over and you give up?  Mature your “entrepreneur spirit” by taking small calculated risks that will season your tolerance level for taking bigger risks in the future .

Don’t let any “problems” along the way become a roadblock for you! The only way to move past problems is by paying special attention to Key #4 – “Study to become larger than the problems you face.”

7. Be Selective.

Too many people take financial advice from people who are not walking their talk. Is your “adviser” earning a wage from his advice or is he financially free because of his advice? Big difference.

If it is financial abundance you are seeking then it pays to learn a little about what the rich do to get wealthy. How do they think, how do they work, how do they see assets, liabilities, time, and opportunity. Their perspective is much different that what you will find on TV or from the popular “money guru’s” currently dispelling their advice.

Also remember that much of the so called wealth you see around you is swimming in debt so never feel envy or competition towards others.

In Summary Tune out the negative and focus on what YOU want for your family. Stop buying into the crisis, set a new course and be willing to go the distance. You can do this because we managed to do it, even when everything was against us.

Find out more about the valuable resources that that saved us from ourselves on my blog.

2007-2009 Financial Crisis Cost Tax Payers $30 Trillion

2008 has come and gone and feels like a distant memory. The economy is back on its feet and the banks which were basically devastated because of the crisis or responsible for creating the crisis are in the best of health.

So it begs the question: “How Bad Was It? Well, I just finished reading a research paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; entitled: How Bad Was it? The Costs and Consequences of the 2007 to 2009 Financial Crisis.” And in the report, the researchers estimate that the recent financial crisis cost our nation $6 to $14 trillion in losses using standard estimates but using other reasonable assumptions, the loss may be closer to $30 trillion if you add in other long term costs directly related to the financial crisis. So what is this loss relative to the size of the U.S. economy? As of the latest figures the size of our economy is over 16 Trillion dollars. So the loss was huge. More on this later.

Breaking down the $6 to $14 trillion loss estimate is based on a differential – between what the economy is and what it could have been without the financial crisis – so, of course, this estimate is based on a lot of assumptions – but even so, it’s the first analysis I have seen on the cost of the financial crisis. And it’s important because it tells us how expensive… government policy decisions can be… for American taxpayers… because if you divide that cost across all tax-paying American households, it translates to $50,000 to $120,000 per US household at the basic level. And that’s just a conservative estimate.

The study also points to a dramatic drop in total wealth due to lower wages as a result of the jobs disruption caused by the crisis – with US household net worth down $16 trillion from mid 2007 through the beginning of ’09 – because roughly one-fourth of all household wealth evaporated in a matter of month. How did it evaporate? Through lower portfolio values, lower home prices, lower money in the bank which shook household confidence severely. And on this point – the point of total wealth and net worth – seniors were hit particularly hard – not only from the drop in the value of their stock and bond portfolios, but through the lower interest rates which were necessary to keep the economy afloat. I don’t have to tell you how this low interest rate policy represented a significant loss of income.

In addition to the financial impact, there are also the psychological costs of joblessness beyond lost income. During this recession, more than 8.7 million workers lost their jobs and faced extended bouts of unemployment. By June 2009, 12 million working Americans were either unemployed or underemployed – with low paying or part time jobs that were below their skill level – and many became so discouraged that they just stopped looking for work altogether. This creates psychological burdens that go far beyond lost income – burdens-such as the cost of being forced out their homes for not making mortgage payments, having to forcibly split family units to make ends meet, and so on.

Data also shows that the average number of households formed – through marriage or partnership – dropped to a third from 1.5 million per year to merely half-a-million – mostly because many working-age children who would normally go out and stay independent, opted instead to staying with their parents to weather the downturn.

Also consider that this lack of employment has meant more unemployment payouts by the government – the government uses borrowed money which increases government debt just at a time when less tax money is coming in. This causes government debt and budget deficit levels to expand as the Government scrambles to get money to people who don’t have jobs.

So while the government did step-in with unprecedented fiscal and monetary action to prevent a full-blown depression, such intervention had significant costs such as a swollen federal debt, an expanded Federal Reserve balance sheet and increased regulation for years to come, which attempts to put in place new banking controls so a similar crisis would not happen again.

So when you add it all up in dollar terms, the loss will likely be closer to $15 to $30 trillion from wealth reduction, with up to $14 trillion more for national trauma and lost opportunity and $12 – $13 trillion in extraordinary government support. And that’s without counting the repercussions of this crisis abroad.

The Dallas Fed report also cites damaged public trust in government-supported institutions and the capitalist economic system – where too big to fail financial companies that precipitated the crisis were given massive dole-outs and preferential protection – and walked away largely unscathed by the crisis they were largely responsible for creating/// while losses, unemployment and significant lifestyle disruptions were disproportionately borne by taxpayers.

So, coming back to the question of how much the crisis cost in easier to understand terms, The Dallas Fed puts the loss at 40 to 90 percent of the entire 2007 output of the United States.

Putting it another way, we lost about 1 whole year of economic output. One whole year.

This is basically why the economy has taken so long to recover back to its former levels, and no one knows exactly how long it would take to totally heal from such a devastating blow.

So when collective circumstances and actions – such as bad loans by banks, rating agencies failing to do their jobs, lax regulatory policies, reckless lending, low interest and easy credit – when these collectively cause havoc, they impact the economy over the long run and we all pay a very significant price – individually and collectively as a nation. So my hope is that my listeners – American taxpayers – understand that policy decisions and private actions tremendously impact our lives and it pays to be sure that your own financial house is in order. You may be able to count on the economy for a while, buts it’s entirely up to you to understand what is in your control and what is not. And to make the right money decisions to protect you from events that are not IN your control.

This means creating a savings pool, investing wisely, spending reasonably and thinking and preparing for the future. If you had done this well, the distressing circumstances which almost brought America to its knees, may not have had as devastating effect on you as it did on so many others. And this, my friends, is what it means to live your one best financial life.