Following on from my recent blog about “Is Manufacturing Coming Back to the US?” one of Morgan Stanley’s Investment guys, Ruchir Sharma, (Managing Director and the head of the Emerging Markets Equity team) has a book out called ‘Breakout Nations’ and in it he says:
“Every Investment idea is right for a while”
He was talking to Fareed Zakaria on his GPS program. Fareed cited that in the 1980’s investing in Japan made you a big winner until the 90’s came around. In the 1990’s it was all about Tech stocks. Then the Tech bubble burst. The Fad for the 2000’s was emerging markets.
And he asked are emerging markets submerging? I was interested mainly because the discussion lead to which countries invest most in R&D, and that is a leading indicator of success for economies worldwide. In fact, the numbers don’t lie. It looks like we may be entering a new phase with different leaders of growth, and it may be the US that becomes the new focus of manufacturing and innovation.
Manufacturing Exports up over past 18 months for USA.
Douglas Burtnick of Aberdeen Asset Management was heard on NBR recently talking about how the US export story is really interesting, and often overlooked by those not focused on the manufacturing industry. He said…
“Companies are seeing external demand for anything from machinery, to electronics, to chemicals, and they’re starting to think about where they really want to manufacture those products. That’s a big deal, because this is the first time in several decades that we’ve actually thought about manufacturing coming back to the US.”
Clearly that affects Aberdeen’s investment philosophy, but he also points out how the phenomenon will affect different regions in the US, and the types of products that will be built here.
This is a significant change from companies going overseas to look for lower costs. So what’s caused the change? Most agree that there are three major reasons.
. US Manufacturing is humming
The first is to do with the issues of distance, communications and language. Transportation costs are significant. Whilst communication and collaboration techniques from companies like Cisco enable real time connected manufacturing, meaning that manufacturing is becoming more connected, this makes the US itself more connected. Overseas transportation costs of materials and goods themselves can still be significant, and a clear target for reduction.