What's Behind Trade Problems in China?

Cramer wants your thoughts on when or whether investments in China will pay off.
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Remember the trade gap? Those of us who traded in 1987 aren't likely to forget it.

In '87, I couldn't fall asleep the night before trade gap numbers. They were the source of all jitters, and every time we saw a widening of the trade gap, the bonds and the stocks got hit.

How things have changed! Yesterday, the nation reported the worst trade gap in its history, $21 billion, and I didn't hear a single commentator even mention this horrid number as a factor in the selloff.

That's wrong, especially when you look at where a lot of the trade problems are coming from: China. What worries me about China is that many of my companies are backing away from claims made last year that this would be the year that all of the investment in China would pay off.

Some of the bigger telco-tech companies have poured billions into China looking for orders. But ever since the mistaken bombing of the Chinese embassy in the Serb war, China has suspended some of the larger projects and ceased ordering.

This China problem keeps creeping into off-line conversations with managements and analysts. The business just isn't coming through.

If you are hearing anything about the problems with China, maybe you could

share it with us at the site, because right now it looks like one of the biggest undiscussed worries out there. We should try to pin it down before everybody starts acting on it.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.