Forecast: Goods Exports To Post Double-Digit Growth

By John S. McClenahen With a record monthly deficit reported for January, U.S. international trade figures released by the Commerce Department this week suggest America could benefit from double-digit growth in exports. And that's what the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI is forecasting. Exports of capital goods (not including autos), vehicles and parts, and consumer goods (again, not including autos) generally are expected to grow at double-digit annual rates for most of this year and next, says the Arlington, Va.-based business research and public policy group. Capital goods exports are expected to display the greatest strength, with as much as a 20% annual rate of growth during the next several calendar quarters. Vehicle export growth is expected to be at a 14% to 22% rate through the first six months of 2005, before tapering off to single digits in the second half of next year. Consumer goods exports are expected to post rates between 8% and 11% in 2004 and 2005. Manufacturers Alliance is projecting a further decline of between 8% and 10% in the value of the U.S. dollar against the currencies of other major industrial economies during the first three quarters of this year followed by a 3% decline in the final quarter of the year. In 2005, the alliance forecasts a 1% rise in the value of the dollar during the first six months and a 2% appreciation in the second half.

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