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Asia Minute: Boeing’s Large Trade Role in Asia

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International safety officials are in Ethiopia, still investigating that tragic air crash over the weekend. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration is keeping the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the air. But some countries have temporarily grounded that airplan including at least two in Asia.

China and Indonesia have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 following the crash of one of the planes in Ethiopia. The same model crashed in Indonesia in October.

While investigators continue their work, global investors are weighing what this all may mean for Boeing — which plays into a number of other U.S. business news stories. A sharp fall in Boeing stock affects more than just that company.

Boeing is one of the thirty stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And because it’s the most expensive stock in the Dow, it has more influence over the Dow Jones Average than any other company. And that’s not all.

Boeing also plays an outsized role in U.S. trade figures — especially in the Asia Pacific.

The Commerce Department tracks more than 1,200 groups of items that are exported – the Department calls them “export commodity groupings.” The largest single category is “civilian aircraft and aircraft parts” – more than 130-billion dollars shipped overseas last year. The largest single exporter in that category is Boeing.

Whenever you see any trade deal announced in Asia that increases U.S. exports — odds are very good that Boeing is a part of it.

Among other countries, that’s been true with China, Japan, India and South Korea.

And last year, Boeing’s largest source of revenue outside the United States was China.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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