Evaluating Latin America Commodity Dependence on China
During the last decade, China s growing economic importance has been considered a blessing for South America, given their still relatively high dependence on the US and commodity exports. However, this positive sentiment is starting to change. Concerns are being raised about potential adverse effects of Chinese demand for raw materials and excesive imports of cheap manufactured goods as substitutes of domestic production. In other words, there is a growing fear about extreme export concentration and, in turn, de-industrialization. We explore to what extent South America has become Sinodependent and the implications of such dependency. To that end, we create a dependency index and then assess the implications of high Chinese GDP growth rates on South American performance over the last decade. We focus on four countries (Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru) and four commodities (iron ore, soy, copper, and ores of non-ferrous metals). We find that each of the countries analyzed has become more exposed to Chinese demand for the commodities in question. In fact, in the past ten years, exposure to Chinese demand measured by our weighted dependency index has risen. This is much more the case for some specific countries and products such as Argentinean soy, Brazilian iron ore and soy, and Chilean copper exports. Despite this increased exposure, we find that Chinese demand has added less than 1 percentage point to GDP growth rates in these four economies in the last years. Although this contribution may be considered bellow expectations, there are secondary effects from the production and export of these commodities not fully captured by the statistics. For any given commodity, there are likely to be spin-off effects in that for any given country, one or two commodities may function as an important engine driving the domestic economy. In turn, any downturn in demand, especially if tied directly to China, would have negative implications beyond the marginal effect on GDP growth that we have calculated here. The combination of hopes and anxieties tied to South America s decade-long boom in economic relations with China is likely to persist. The honeymoon period of South America-China economic relations may or may not be over, but what is clear is that commodities will continue to underpin the relationship for better or for worse.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bbv:wpaper:1305. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (OSCAR DE LAS PENAS SANCHEZ-CARO)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.