February 25th, 2009
03:57 PM GMT
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HONG KONG, China – This week, I met with a businessman who ships goods from Hong Kong's port all over the world. All he could talk about was the lack of orders especially from the United States. 

Freight movement out of Asia is slowing as orders dry up.
Freight movement out of Asia is slowing as orders dry up.

"It's all about the orders!" he lamented. "There are no orders."

No orders is a bit of an exaggeration. He later calmed down and told me that American retailers were placing orders - but not a lot by his estimation and only to bigger manufacturers they felt confident would be around at least for the next several months.

This lack of confidence is disconcerting for business people in Asia and for the governments who, for decades, relied on the sales of competitively priced goods to countries such as the United States to enrich their impoverished economies.

For the vast majority of exporters out here, the U.S. market is crucial to their survival. In addition, others that support these manufacturers - like the businessman I was speaking to - can't imagine further growth in the region without America's confident spenders.

Already, Japan has posted a record trade deficit. Taiwan's exports are down by over 40 percent from a year ago. Hong Kong's recession is deepening. South Korea is facing a debt crisis as its companies' sales wither.

The businessman I met with isn't normally interested in U.S. politics, but he is this year.

His hope? That President Barack Obama and his aggressive economic agenda will inspire the American people to buy again - and keep the orders coming to Asia.

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Filed under: AsiaBusinessObamaUnited States


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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Elvis

    Theres a song that goes 'when will they ever learn...'. When will greedy businessmen, investors, market manipulators learn that theres limit to their greed. US will never spend like they used to. Many consumer will be bankcrupt or pay for they debts for a very long time. With collapse of credit deravetives, the credit crunch in US will take many years to repair. Media and wall street investors should be realistic that this problem wont go away in matter of months Seeing stock market going down on almost every trading day, medias and investors should support actions taken by President Obama and Fed rather that given many excuses and criticism towards improving fiancial stability.

    February 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  2. Bridgette Lazarus

    The whole world right now is hoping for Obama to make a difference.

    February 25, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  3. ruwan

    Asia should not depend on Obana. They should have thier own agenda. According to Fed Chief it will take years to recover. we cant wait years to make our exports stable.

    February 26, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  4. Bob

    What does the new stimulus plan have to say about mortgage fraud? More particularly what will happen for the people who have been defrauded and have lost thousands of dollars or have been foreclosed upon due to fraud? How does the plan address the need for recovery of what they've lost due to mortgage fraud (monetary, homes, repair damaged crdeit)? What are the penalties for the perpetrators?

    February 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  5. Barrett Leibe

    Anything that the U.S. Govt does will be negative for the U.S. and world economy. Those who have put their hopes in the "New Savior" will be disappointed.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  6. Tom Myris

    Ali Velshi,
    Myself and my daughter's grandparents had put moneies aside for our daughter's education. The funds were put into a Well's (Piedmont) Reit. WE have over the years withdrawn funds from this REIT to keep my daughter debt free. Now when my daughter needs these funds to continue her graduate education the Reit informs me they are not releasing any more funds. These are our funds that they will not give us, I feel things like this should be aired on your program section. Is there a way to get the grips off our funds. It seems that once again greed is taking over and that's all that matters is the livelyhood of the people running the REIT.
    Tom Myris

    February 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  7. Tim Clarke

    It is a sad reflection on human nature that everyone blames someone else; from bankers, to money market traders, to politicians, to employers?
    The truth of course is that it is our fault!
    We are the ones who engineered the property boom, out of greed, and it is us who will eventually have to carry the can when the market that booms most suffers most, as happened in previous disasters such as the South Sea Bubble and the Dutch Bulb Crisis!
    Will Obama succeed? – only when all of the excesses in the property markets are wrung out of the system, and lower interest rates only postpone the problem!

    February 27, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  8. TEJU OMOLE

    Nigerian naira is crashing steadily the stock market is helpless, will the country survive this economic holocaust?

    February 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  9. wilson09

    For most people, globalization has been good or bad depending on whether it made them money or cost them their job. Even while it cost jobs it saved people money, as everyone that bought low priced Asian goods benefited because the dollar they did make went further. Now the general idea was that global trade was good and that more benefited from playing the game. Generally it is. Here’s where it went wrong . http://tinyurl.com/dm933a

    February 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  10. David

    Want to boost the economy lower credit card rates.

    February 27, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  11. what?

    I really wish we could have our US government provide ,online,
    documents of what is owed to America from other countries
    around the world, yes, I really think that might change the idealism that America is owned by anyone most especially China! I wonder what countries America must own by the same token! Get ready Americans we just might have some spectacular new resources at our disposal by this manner of ownership! Now if we could get bho to stop selling off America before all the numbers are in!

    February 28, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  12. David Conn

    Obama will make a difference. He knows the bad ideas are thrown out of the budget table.

    March 1, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  13. John

    The U.S. Government and the Fed are doing everything possible to re-inflate the economy. We should soon begin to see many basic necessities of life such as healthcare soar in price. Unfortunately, things which are not basic to life will probably deflate even more than they are deflating now. Thus, I see very little hope for these Asian
    exporters.

    March 2, 2009 at 4:39 am |

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