Why does "Economist" Scott Grannis HATE the facts????
Scott Grannis as a well respected Economics Blog at http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/.
He is constantly talking about how Green Things are....but when you offer him with factual data, he goes out of his way to dismiss it....now matter how obvious the facts.
It seems strange that someone seeking intellectual respect would dismiss the facts.
Here is an exchange back and forth:
Here's an updated version of a chart I've shown before, using June data for container exports from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and goods exports through May. Things haven't bounced quite as much as I was expecting. However, I do think it's clear from this chart that the free-fall in global trade which began in the fourth quarter of last year has at the very least stopped, and has reversed to some degree. On a year over year basis, outbound LA container shipments were down only 9% in June, whereas they were down 29% last December.
24 comments: alstry said...
Do you know the contents of the containers???
As you know, the #1 and #2 exports by container from the U.S. is trash....scrap paper and scrap metal respectively.
Just to be serious for a second.
Many Economists cite Exports as an economic indicator.....but most economists don't realize that America's key export is trash.
As a percentage of container volume, trash is so high that using export container volume as an economic indicator is not much better than the contents.
FWIW, recyc papyer prices are up recently and could explain the higher volume.
The following are cites to a couple articles:
To be really serious,
If you notice, LA container traffic was much better than Long Beach, looking at the second link I provided, you would see that waste paper was piling up due to depressed pricing in the Winter.
Prices picked up recently which helps explain the pick up in L.A. relative to Long Beach.
Hopefully this clarifies things a bit.
Just a quick question to digress a bit.....
In Law and business analysis, the facts, and weight of the facts, are important in building a foundation to reaching a presentable conclusion.
And in Law, socratic discourse is encouraged when the facts are in dispute.
In Economics, do the facts matter?
I ask this question in all seriousness because I was at a dinner once and when I raised a point about mortgages to a highly regarded Economist from the Fed, he responded to me, in part, that he didn't like facts getting in the way of his theories......
Is this line of logic common among economists, and if so, is getting the right conclusion important in Economics?
Scott Grannis said...
alstry: your high regard for facts is just hot air. If you had done some basic due diligence, you would have discovered that paper scrap represented a mere 10% of outbound container shipments from Los Angeles in 2007, at a time when prices were sky-high. Volumes are almost certainly down today, but paper probably represents less than 10% of this year's shipments. That shipments are up significantly from year end on a seasonally adjusted basis thus implies that non-paper exports are doing quite well.
I hope you understand and appreciate that my only goal is to determine the truth with this socratic discourse. Without a doubt, the majority of U.S. Exports by container volume is simply waste paper.....I am not sure where you obtained your 10% number, but I am not sure if it is valid.
Here is some more data:
America's largest exporter, in terms of volume via container, remained a company virtually unknown in the United States: American Chung Nam Inc. The Chinese company exported 211,300 containers of waste paper to its Chinese sister company, Nine Dragons Paper Industries. Its exports were one-quarter the amount of Wal-Mart's imports. American Chung Nam's cargo was worth virtually nothing in the United States.
Weyerhaeuser was the country's second largest export company, with 165,800 TEUs filled with paper. At least 10 of the 20 largest U.S. exporters shipped paper or waste paper in 2007; four others shipped bulk chemicals and one shipped scrap metal. Only one of the top 20 U.S. exporters was a U.S.-based product manufacturer: Procter & Gamble. The few remaining large U.S companies among the top 20 exporters via ocean container sold bulk chemicals, agricultural commodities or paper.
Few of America's top corporate giants were shipping manufactured goods via container to overseas markets. Mighty General Electric ranked 23rd among exporters with 41,200 container equivalents shipped. But the company imported three times that amount (112,900 containers) and was ranked 11th among importers. Caterpillar was in 27th place among exporters, behind 12 wastepaper exporters.
Thanks for your patience trying to get to the bottom of this....for all of our sakes.
Scott Grannis said...
alstry: read the articles you linked to. They have the data I referred to.
Thanks again for your patience and civility....I have read the articles and could not find anything relating to export container VOLUME being only 10%.....
It was clear that paper was in a depression last Fall, but thank goodness it has improved this Spring.
Scott Grannis said...
One of the articles cited the fact that 164,000 containers of paper scrap were shipped out of the port of LA in 2007. If you check the port's statistics, they shipped a total of 1.6 million containers that year.
American Chung Nam Inc. alone shipped over 200,000 containers.....
Scott Grannis said...
I am rapidly losing patience here. As the article states, "America Chung Nam ... annually exports over 211,000." That does not specify a time period, nor does it specify a port. Earlier in the article an LA port official is quoted as giving total containers of paper scrap shipped in 2007.
Your sloppy use of facts is a waste of everyone's time. I will exercise my veto power if this continues.
The data is per year and virtually all of Chung's scrap goes to China....you think it is reasonable to think that trash is shipping off the East Coast to China?
This is just an area I know a thing or two about.
I don't mean to upset you....I would think getting to the bottom of this would be your goal as well.
If I am wrong, I would truly appreciate you bringing the correct data to my attention.
Thanks again for your patience and hard work you put into your blog.
Some portion of Chung's shipments could be going out of Long Beach, couldn't they?
In any event, paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments. And regardless of the amount, shipments of paper scarp represent value added for someone, otherwise they would not exist at all. To dismiss the rising volume of container shipments just because 10% or so are paper scrap is a specious argument.
July 20, 2009 10:48 AM
When I responded to Scott with the following clip from above.....he had it and deleted my post:
In any event, paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments.
Alstry: This is from ABOVE:
Caterpillar was in 27th place among exporters, behind 12 wastepaper exporters.
My point....as we were discussing container volume, 12 of the top 27 exports are WASTE PAPER exporters....the number one exporter is a WASTE PAPER exporter.....how can Mr. Grannis say with a straight face that paper scrap represents a small fraction of container shipments????