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I think I found our August surprise.
Here's the deal:
China is in trouble.
It's certainly not saying so, and god knows we're being very careful to say it's so.
But trust me, it's so.
Beijing has hit a bump. Actually, a lot of bumps.
First reports this morning that its car demand in July was the lowest it's been in 16 months .. and in once bursting parts of the country, the worst in two years.
Then there were these annoying, but each day consistent, news flashes on bad bank loans.
Think about that.
Something we're just getting over here, they're just getting into there.
Then I stopped myself, and said, "Self, this ain't good."
China was supposed to lead us out of this mess ... Not drag us back into it.
But ever since the country rejiggered its currency to at least kind of reflect its true value in the world, this stuff, this news, has become more common.
Retail sales slowing.
Chinese consumers fidgeting.
Get the picture?
Not a pretty picture.
Not when the world's fastest growing economy and one we thought immune to the mere mortal woes of others, seems to be catching up on the oldest of economic truisms:
What comes around goes around.
Here's the difference with China:
Our country's fate is inextricably linked to it like no other.
Not only because the Chinese own so much of our debt, but because now we discover over the course of the last couple of years, they've been trying to unwind a lot of that debt.
They've been unwinding so much, in fact, that for a while, they held the "second" most U.S. Debt ... Japan then briefly became our top sugar daddy ... That is, until revised numbers put Beijing back on top.
Obviously that tells me the Chinese saw all this trouble coming a long time ago and now I’m just piecing it together ... The debt thing, the settle with angry workers at scores of factories in the most-far-flung provinces thing.
Not a whole lot seems to be working ... Especially when housing is hiccupping and consumers there are retrenching.
For us, all this could be more than a tad upsetting.
These days, China's the one who when it gets a cold, the rest of the world suffers pneumonia.
That used to be us.
Now it's the Chinese.
And let's just say they have more than a cold. Let's just also say, we have more than a crisis.