Jeremy Hobson: In China, some evidence this morning of a slowing economy. The government there said that last quarter, the Chinese economy grew at an annual rate of just — get this — 9.1 percent. That may sound good, but it’s the slowest growth there in two years.
Juli Niemann is an analyst with Smith, Moore, and Company. She joins us live from St. Louis as she does every Tuesday. Good morning, Juli.
Juli Niemann: Good morning, Jeremy.
Hobson: So 9.1 percent — sounds pretty good to me. Why is it not good enough for China?
Niemann: Well it looks wonderful, but it’s way below what they need to grow, because they have to keep employment growing or they really risk a lot of civil unrest. So 9.1 percent is great, but they need closer to 12 to 13 percent, almost as a minimum.
This is slowing due to the debt crisis in Europe and the United States. Europe is their number one customer with about 400 billion in trade. Europe in the debt crisis can’t afford all this, and of course we’ve seen even our demand from China really dropping as well, so it’s a trajectory that could really cause huge problems.
Hobson: Well, what does it mean for us, Juli? Is it problems for the United States?
Niemann: China does really matter to the United States because we do export to them. You know, we’ve got — China has machinery, tools, heavy equipment, planes, all of this goes to China and that’s what brought us technically out of the recession in 2009. If they stop buying our manufactured goods, we too risk sliding back into recession here.
Hobson: Let’s talk quickly about the other big international story this morning. We’ve of course got this big deal they’re trying to reach — a big plan trying to reach with the debt crisis. And now today, we hear that Moody’s may downgrade the credit rating of France.
Niemann: Well, Moody’s is putting everybody in a rock and a hard place. All of the European Union countries are going to be coughing up a lot of money and putting themselves at risk to bailout Greece and stabilize the E.U. currency.
So France, obviously, is going to be spending even more money, putting their government even further in debt, causing the possible downgrade here.
That’s not going to happen just to France alone. Moody’s will be looking at all the other countries and how much they have to pony up too. It really is a situation where you are between a rock and a hard place. What’s going to result from it, though, is everyone’s going to blow off Moody’s, because you’re going to do what you need to get this job done.
Hobson: Juli Neimann, analyst with Smith, Moore, and Company, thanks as always and congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals!
Niemann: The Cardiac Cardinals, we did it.
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