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US trade gap narrows as exports rise
Financial Times (FT.com) ^ | 10. November 2004 | Christopher Swann

Posted on 11/12/2004 6:39:20 AM PST by 1rudeboy

By Christopher Swann in Washington
Published: November 10 2004 13:51 | Last updated: November 10 2004 13:51

The US trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in September, reflecting a fall in energy imports and a pick up in exports, according to data released on Wednesday.

The trade shortfall fell by $1.9bn to $51.6bn, compared with forecasts of a deficit of about $53.5bn.

The figures pointed to a stronger performance by US exporters. Exports of goods climbed by $900m to $68.9bn, offsetting a $100m fall in service exports to $28.5bn. Sales of semiconductors, computers and food were particularly strong.

HSBC said the improvement in the trade position could lead to an upward revision to economic growth in the third quarter from 3.7 per cent to 4 per cent.

In addition to the rise in exports, the deficit was reduced by a fall in energy imports. Despite a 3.5 per cent rise in the price of energy per unit, the total import bill fell by $500m to $124.5bn due to a 10 per cent decline in volumes. Imports of pharmaceuticals, semi-conductors and computers also fell.

Economists said the figures were encouraging but many expect the deficit to widen again, since US growth continues to outpace the expansion in Japan or the eurozone.

Goldman Sachs dismissed suggestions that the improvement in September was due to the hurricanes in the south-east of the US, pointing out that most ports were unaffected. But in a research note published on Tuesday it said the report was unlikely to signal a turning point in the trade deficit.

The figures did little to help the dollar, which has been edging to new lows against the euro. On Wednesday, the euro hit a record high against the dollar at $1.305 before falling back to around $1.29.

Analysts have become increasingly pessimistic over the outlook for the dollar after the currency failed to rally in response to there-election of President George W. Bush and a dramatic improvement in the employment figures. The strong jobs figures at the end of last week were seen as a mixed blessing for the dollar, increasing confidence in robust growth and higher investment returns but also underlining that the deficit may expand further if US growth accelerates.

Many economists say the dollar will increasingly be dragged down by the bloated US current account deficit, despite interest rate rises by the Federal Reserve.

Import prices for October were also released yesterday showing a 1.5 per cent rise in October. This largely reflected an 11.7 per cent rise in petroleum prices.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: export; import; thebusheconomy; trade; wgids
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1 posted on 11/12/2004 6:39:20 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
Hold on, hold on. Exports are up?

I thought the whole world hated us and refused to do business with us...at least, that is what John sKerry and the LameStream Media kept insinuating during Campaign 2004...

Can someone clear this up for me?

2 posted on 11/12/2004 6:44:28 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: 1rudeboy

Does the falling dollar help to increase our exports and reduce our imports? I don't see that mentioned in the article.


3 posted on 11/12/2004 6:46:22 AM PST by bankwalker (Katie's legs are the reason God created the mute button.)
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To: 1rudeboy
We need tariffs!!! Those numbers are still too high. I also don't particularly like seeing inexpensive goods that flow in from Mexico and China. We need more stuff that's made in America and consumed in America. Did you know that this is this first president in 70+ years to be net jobs loser? We've become a nation of Wal*Mart greeters and burger flippers while Haliburton robs us of our tax dollars.
4 posted on 11/12/2004 6:46:55 AM PST by LowCountryJoe (Maybe the Democrats should work on getting their own "miserable failure" elected to office.)
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To: 1rudeboy
It's certainly a move in the right direction for the trade deficit, and I hope this presages a continuing decrease in the trade deficit.

I haven't had time to look at any details, but it would be very good news if the details also show good growth in some of the harder hit areas.

5 posted on 11/12/2004 6:47:23 AM PST by snowsislander
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To: SoFloFreeper
Gladly . . . we don't build nothing, nowhere, no how. The increase in exports is simply the U.S. shipping its factories to China. Don't you know that Karl Marx favored free trade? The only way to stop this slow death is by creating a Ministry of Production and the immediately implementing an industrial policy, with tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and wage-supports.

If we did so right away, then the turn-around would occur during the second or third Five Year Plan.

6 posted on 11/12/2004 6:50:06 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: bankwalker

Theoretically, a falling dollar raises exports and reduces imports.


7 posted on 11/12/2004 6:51:27 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy; All

Don't forget to force Americans to buy only $500 union made DVD's and a $90,000 union made car.. That is the best solution to protect the American factory..


8 posted on 11/12/2004 6:52:15 AM PST by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: KevinDavis

No doubt. Raise the minimum factory salary to $120K/year, and watch our economy take-off. Shoot for the moon, I say.


9 posted on 11/12/2004 6:53:52 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy; All
Also we can't allow new technologies to be formed.. That would render some factories obsolete and may have to layoff some people.
10 posted on 11/12/2004 6:57:38 AM PST by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: KevinDavis
Yes, you've nailed it. We need a well defined market place - America only. I am well prepared to man my sewing machine, blast furnace, chain saw, conveyor belt, or telephone & data base generated call sheet in order to make this happen. Just pay me my "living wage" and give me my benefits that are owed to me...or I'll bing suit!
11 posted on 11/12/2004 7:00:27 AM PST by LowCountryJoe (Maybe the Democrats should work on getting their own "miserable failure" elected to office.)
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To: bankwalker

A lower U.S. dollar makes your exports more competitive price-wise with Canada and the E.U. This is good for the U.S. manufacturing sector, likely will result in job creation.

Another good trade-off is that imported cars will be more expensive than before, resulting in growth among domestics (GM, Ford).

On the flip-side, it will be more expensive for Americans to travel abroad. There's always trade-offs when it comes to changes in the value of the dollar. Some good, some bad.


12 posted on 11/12/2004 7:02:20 AM PST by balk (Martin's goin' down (just you wait!))
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To: KevinDavis
Damn straight. Once again, you hit the nail on its head. The robot is not our friend, he'll steal your livelihood.

Make sure that you do your part by voting for politicians that protect you own economic interests...no matter their character.

13 posted on 11/12/2004 7:04:35 AM PST by LowCountryJoe (Maybe the Democrats should work on getting their own "miserable failure" elected to office.)
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To: balk

A decline in real purchasing power is also one of the trade-offs.


14 posted on 11/12/2004 7:06:59 AM PST by LowCountryJoe (Maybe the Democrats should work on getting their own "miserable failure" elected to office.)
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To: 1rudeboy

The dollar is finally not under the pressure it has been for all those years, The Euro, a self made monster is helping take off the pressure which for years was hurting our economy by pricing us off the markets. With a higher per capita productivity, lower fixed costs in electricity, logistics, fuel and so on, we have been highly competitive all along, but when we had 3.56 Deutsche Mark to $1 we were being crushed by our own currency.

Now even Russia is buying Euros (mixed with dollars) for its reserve and many Ba’athists fleeing Iraq were caught with guess what? Euros. Most used currency (For trade) in the Balkans? Euros.

For years some conspiracy theorists were coming up with ever crazier ideas of how the US had an unfair advantage because of the dollar and the fact that most trade in strategic resources is conducted with this currency. In reality, our trade was being hampered by our own currency. We ended up with a currency with had a high volume of counterfeiting and regulatory issues because foreign governments would buy money or sell it causing major monetary shifts which affected our economy.

I truly believe that a lot of the devaluation of our dollar is caused by the advent of the Euro. I think in the long run this will make us MORE competitive on the world scene. Games like intentional devaluation of currency as the Italians commonly practiced with the Lira will be difficult if not impossible with the Euro. The Euro zone will have similar issues as the dollar while taking off pressure of the dollar. Only they are not as competitive and will have a harder time dealing with the pressure in the long run. In the end, US products will end up cheaper while Euro zone products will be more expensive. Imports will sink, while exports rise. But these are long term developments. In the short term businesses will suck up the costs in the hope of this trend changing. Eventually they will be forced to cave in. This will also bring MORE business into the US since our competitive advantage is now noticeable and can be taken advantage of. So Mercedes will build MLs in Mississippi and import them to Germany to sell. BMW will build Z3s to import to Germany to sell. As a manufacturing base we become more cost effective as well.

The Euro is a great thing. Hats off, I like it.

Red6


15 posted on 11/12/2004 7:18:04 AM PST by Red6
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To: balk
Another good trade-off is that imported cars will be more expensive than before, resulting in growth among domestics (GM, Ford).

Don't forget to include BMW, Toyota, and Honda in the "domestic" column. We need to stop the scourge of insourcing ASAP!

16 posted on 11/12/2004 7:22:15 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: LowCountryJoe; All
Also we need to pass a law forbidding layoffs. We can't have that. Jobs are guaranteed for life..
17 posted on 11/12/2004 7:22:43 AM PST by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: 1rudeboy; All

Don't forget about Hyundai..


18 posted on 11/12/2004 7:23:16 AM PST by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: SoFloFreeper

But...Dan Rather said it isn't so!


19 posted on 11/12/2004 7:37:12 AM PST by RockinRight (I think, therefore I am a conservative.)
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To: Red6

We do tend to benefit from the stupidity of Europeans.


20 posted on 11/12/2004 7:39:03 AM PST by RockinRight (I think, therefore I am a conservative.)
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To: Red6

The most desirable market is the American market. It has the most disposable income by far. But Europe and Asia will have much more difficulty in accessing it. American companies will therefore see a return to having control over pricing their products in the U.S. market. This is all good news for the investor.


21 posted on 11/12/2004 7:39:37 AM PST by balk (Martin's goin' down (just you wait!))
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To: 1rudeboy

rudeboy, I thought a trade deficit was a sign of a booming economy!? When are you free traders going to get your story straight?


22 posted on 11/12/2004 8:01:53 AM PST by sixmil (11/2/2004 - And there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth)
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To: LowCountryJoe
Did you know that this is this first president in 70+ years to be net jobs loser?

Sorry LCJ but this is a lie. According to the household survey there are over 2 million more Americans working now than when President Bush first entered office. The problem you have is you are relying only on the jobs survey which covers mostly big business.

Our economy is changing. Most new jobs are people going into business for themselves or working for small companies. These are not included in the jobs survey and are always ignored by the enemies of America (Old media)

We have more people working now than we ever did. They are making (on average) more money than they ever did. and it only looks to improve as we destroy more of islam and recover more from 911

23 posted on 11/12/2004 8:22:58 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: RockinRight

Yes very true.

Remember Yankee go home in Germany? Oooops- 30,000 jobs went by by too. Nearly 20 Billion dollars a year dried up. Yes, that's with a "B".

They live in an ideological world where even if all facts refute their view they will just find some whacko who tells them what the want to hear. Why do you think Michael Moore is so popular in large parts of Europe? Even though factually wrong, spun and with situations taken out of context, they like to hear that because he tells "what" they want to hear.

So as an “expert” 2 years ago said “The Americans just can’t spend themselves out of this recession” (He was from the Deutsche Bank), and we cut taxes and did just that. They increased their VAT tax to 16% from 14% (A tax like a sales tax) and their economy is dying. They managed to increase a whole plethora of taxes and the consumer can hardly make ends meat. But they do believe that the war in Iraq was a diversion from the horrid economic conditions in the US. They will be forced into a humiliating economic crises eventually which will force them to adopt change. In the mean time they will push on with blinders, telling themselves the merits of their “Social” economy, the great Kyoto protocol and other crap fed to them by their current demagogues in the SPD and Greens that are leading their country and media.

Ironically the media which is in Germany even partially owned by people closely associated with the political party in power also has to a large degree state ownership of much of the media as well. They point their finger at the US and say “FOX is bad and propaganda” as they watch their state official, on the state run TV channel tell them how great everything is in their “Sozialstaat”.

Being of German/Austrian decent (I'm more German than most Germans), I take the liberty to say that the masses in both of these nations are subjects. People who see “group think” as a good thing that needs practice. People who have replaced religion with a form of government that shall provide from cradle to grave. People who went from UNmoral to Amoral after WW2. Not all are bad, but they are on a downward glide path and can’t even see why; nor do they really want to.

Red6


24 posted on 11/12/2004 8:34:53 AM PST by Red6
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To: sixmil; 1rudeboy
rudeboy, I thought a trade deficit was a sign of a booming economy!?

LOL!!!

25 posted on 11/12/2004 9:26:35 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: sixmil; Willie Green
. . . I thought a trade deficit was a sign of a booming economy!? When are you free traders going to get your story straight?

Conversely, I thought a trade deficit means we are DOOMED!? When are you protectionists going to get your story straight?

26 posted on 11/12/2004 9:31:07 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
Conversely, I thought a trade deficit means we are DOOMED!?

Yes, that remains the long term prognosis as our productive industries continue to migrate offshore.
Nevertheless, it IS hilariously entertaining to watch you hypocritically change your spin and hype with every little statistical anomoly and media sound byte along the way.

LOL! What a phony pile of BS!!!

27 posted on 11/12/2004 9:51:04 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Nice try Willie. That's what makes arguing with protectionists so much fun. Try supporting your allegations. Remember, citing to Karl Marx, Paul Krugman, or Ralph Nader doesn't count. I am especially interested in my alleged "hypocrisy." Off to Google you go!
28 posted on 11/12/2004 10:00:21 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
Nice try Willie.

Thanks.
I always aim for the bullseye.
But I gotta admit, it's almost too easy with such a slow moving target.

29 posted on 11/12/2004 10:04:48 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
C'mon, Willie, prove it . . . it's not that hard . . . ask your fellow collectivists for help if you are unable.
30 posted on 11/12/2004 10:06:43 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Red6; 1rudeboy
The dollar is finally not under the pressure it has been for all those years

Excellent post. Thank you.

The improvement in exports is certainly welcome news, and is probably due to several factors. Your analysis of the currency exchange rates is likely the most important. Other effects should be the higher productivity of the US, particulary compared to China and Europe. The socialism of Europe is finally beginning to destroy their economy to the point that even their excellence in engineering cannot accomodate.

Of course, the major issue is the relative labor costs.

The popular refrain is that Chineese or Indian labor cost about 1/20 that of American. That sounds bad, but it isn't as bad as it seems. The reason is that China in particular has emphasized LOW productivity. That's right, low productivity. Following the inestimable lead of American unions, the Chineese attempt to reduce unemployment by keeping productivity low, so that they can employ as many as possible. The idea is that their wages are so low that they can still produce a cheap product with inefficient workers (not the workers fault, though).

The NET difference, if you include only direct wages, is only a factor of 2 on average, particularly when you include other costs, such as transportation and such. 1/2 is a lot better than 1/20.

The bigger problem is that government regulation and federal law impose additional costs to hiring people. The US Chamber of COmmerce (sorry, I don't have the link) estimates that the actual cost of hiring an employe is a factor of 2-3 above his wage level. You pay the employee $10; it costs the company $20 - $30. Most of this is federal employment law which is the basis for employee lawsuits for discrimination and such. Interestingly enough, over 90% of discrimination lawsuits are brought by present employees, rather than applicants that were not hired (as the law was putatively designed to address).

Tort lawyers to the rescue again!!

The cost of tort lawsuits for employment law cost companies directly in lawsuit settlements, but indirectly in additional inefficiencies in operating a business. When you include these effects, the difference between net, effective wage rates becomes 1/6. That is too high.

The solution?

1. Allow the currencies to float to appropriate levels (dollar weaker, China currency stronger).

2. Tort reform and simplification and reduction of employment law.

This approach won't save all manufacturing jobs and output, but remember that we are operating on a distribution; this is not a binary effect. Every bit we become more efficient and economical means more manufacturing that will move here.

31 posted on 11/12/2004 10:06:55 AM PST by 2ndreconmarine
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To: Willie Green; sixmil
I always aim for the bullseye.
But I gotta admit, it's almost too easy with such a slow moving target.

Ooooops, you can't take credit for THIS one, WG.
sixmil is the one who nailed that bird.
Don't get carried away...
Gotta give credit where credit is due!

32 posted on 11/12/2004 10:13:21 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green; LowCountryJoe; Toddsterpatriot; Poohbah
OK, I'll get the ball rolling. Willie Green's new standard for hypocrisy: a belief that the effect of a trade deficit is not as calamitous as some folks have been arguing for decades automatically prevents me from posting an article that show the trade deficit has declined. If I do so, I am a hypocrite. In fact, maybe a tariff should be placed on my posting of articles that contradict Willie Green. After all, if anyone should have a monopoly on posting economics news (or Marx quotes, or press releases from Public Citizen), on this forum, it's Willie

I look forward to anyone demonstrating that my views are false seeing that Willie cannot.

33 posted on 11/12/2004 10:26:51 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Willie Green
Willie, I've noticed that you selectively post every single job loss news you can find, but you always manage to avoid threads like this that contradict you.
34 posted on 11/12/2004 10:29:47 AM PST by denydenydeny
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To: denydenydeny
You don't understand. If he did, that would make him a hypocrite.


Look! You fools, you’re in danger! Can’t you see? The free-traders are after you!
They’re after all of you! Our wives, our children, everyone!
They’re here already, and posting at FR! You’re next!

35 posted on 11/12/2004 10:36:03 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: denydenydeny
Kudos to Honda.
But such threads have become few and far between.
Since Dubya first took office, Foreign Direct Investment in the United States has plummetted 80%
and China has overtaken us as the preferred market for foreign investment capital.
36 posted on 11/12/2004 10:36:31 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Mr. Green,

You of all people calling others hypocrites. You've wailed about our deficits and at the same time a falling dollar. You've tried to come across as the champion of the American people but yet you want to hose them by asking them to pony up more for the goods that they want to consume. The majority of the time you truly believe there are free lunches. You claim to be conservative but yet post (and agree with) the garbage you find on union, Leftist, and various collectivist thinking websites...and then you call us capitalists the Marxists.

You have marginalized yourself as a one trick, doom & gloom pony, who rarely gets it right. I can tell that you've been learning things as time goes by because you'll incorporate new - new for you - terminology into you pathetic arguments. But yet you continue with the same tired arguments. As your learning process continues, I do hope that you'll finally acquire the wisdom to see that the paradigm that you've been clinging to has been rooted in emotion and not logic.

Good luck to you, Mr. Green.

37 posted on 11/12/2004 11:41:19 AM PST by LowCountryJoe (Maybe the Democrats should work on getting their own "miserable failure" elected to office.)
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To: LowCountryJoe
Rather than address the structural ramifications of our long term trade deficits, LowCountryJoe launches into his hackneyed mantra of personal attacks combined with "Buy it cheap at Wal-Mart" hype.

Why are we not surprised?

38 posted on 11/12/2004 11:51:59 AM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Hey Willie, please explain again why expensive steel and sugar is really good for the economy.
39 posted on 11/12/2004 12:57:43 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (First we lost Havoc, then we lost Daschle. Oh the humanity!!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Come on Todd, it's the "structural ramifications" that are involved! Many pay up for the sake of the few; you know, redistribution. But yet we're the Marxists, go figure.


40 posted on 11/12/2004 1:11:17 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (Maybe the Democrats should work on getting their own "miserable failure" elected to office.)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

You mean how globalism reduces productive capacity to drive up prices for those commodities?


41 posted on 11/12/2004 1:19:45 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
You mean how globalism reduces productive capacity to drive up prices for those commodities?

You happen to have any real world examples where globalism has driven up the price of a commodity?

42 posted on 11/12/2004 1:22:18 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (First we lost Havoc, then we lost Daschle. Oh the humanity!!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Oil.


43 posted on 11/12/2004 1:36:33 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Globalism reduced the productive capacity of oil and drove up prices?
44 posted on 11/12/2004 1:43:55 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Protectionists give me the Willies!!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Yep.


45 posted on 11/12/2004 1:55:32 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green; LowCountryJoe

So do you have any stats that show that oil production has fallen? Or are you making stuff up again?


46 posted on 11/12/2004 2:05:25 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Protectionists give me the Willies!!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Hubbert's Peak goes global. Commentary: Why the coming oil crisis will be structural
47 posted on 11/12/2004 2:11:12 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green

Didn't see anything in that post about falling oil production. Try again.


48 posted on 11/12/2004 2:15:47 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Protectionists give me the Willies!!!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Shell announces closure of refinery in Bakersfield
Evidence Shows Shell to Demolish Profitable Refinery, Drive Up Gas Prices
The Great Refinery Shortage, America needs oil
49 posted on 11/12/2004 2:19:01 PM PST by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Shell announces closure of refinery in Bakersfield

snip..Shell Oil Products announced Thursday it will close down a refinery in Bakersfield next year because of the decreasing supply of crude oil in the area

Evidence Shows Shell to Demolish Profitable Refinery, Drive Up Gas Prices

Nothing in this post about oil production.

The Great Refinery Shortage, America needs oil

Another post about refining, not about oil production

Still nothing about declining oil production, let alone that it was caused by globalism. Come on Willie, you can do better.

50 posted on 11/12/2004 2:31:22 PM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Protectionists give me the Willies!!!)
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