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Economy in Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit Smaller
by Tom Moeller July 13, 2005

The U.S. foreign trade deficit improved more than expected in May to $55.3B versus April's downwardly revised deficit of $56.9. Consensus expectations had been for a deficit of $57.0B.

Total exports ticked up 0.1% after the 3.3% spike in April. Goods exports slipped 0.1% (+9.3% y/y) as capital goods fell 3.0% (+4.3% y/y) due to a 28.4% (+13.4% y/y) drop in civilian aircraft. Exports of advanced technology products fell for the second month and the 8.0% decline (NSA, +0.8% y/y) was nearly double the drop in April. Exports of nonauto consumer goods rose 4.7% (13.9% y/y) and exports of foods, feeds & beverages jumped 11.1% (15.9% y/y).

Services exports rose 0.6% (14.8% y/y) as passenger fares rose 2.9% (17.3% y/y) but private travel fell 0.3% (+15.8% y/y).

Imports of goods & services fell 0.9% as imports of petroleum products fell 6.8% (+35.5% y/y). The average price of crude oil fell 3.8% to $43.08 per bbl. (+30.0% y/y). Since May the price of oil has more than recouped that decline and risen to roughly $50 per bbl. Imports of non-petroleum goods slipped 0.3% (+9.1% y/y) as capital goods imports fell 1.8% (+11.3% y/y).

The US trade deficit with China deepened to $15.8B ($161.9B in 2004) as imports were strong for the second consecutive month and jumped 5.1% (26.4% y/y). The US trade deficit with Japan again improved slightly to $6.6B ($75.6B in 2004) but the monthly trade deficit with the Asian NICs deepened to $1.2B ($21.9B in 2004). The US trade deficit with the European Union deepened to $10.5B ($109.3B in 2004).

U.S. Economic Growth, Relatively Speaking from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Foreign Trade May April Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Trade Deficit $55.3B $56.9B $48.7B (5/04) $617.6B $494.8B $421.2B
  Exports - Goods & Services 0.1% 3.3% 10.9% 12.6% 4.6% -3.0%
  Imports - Goods & Services -0.9% 4.3% 11.8% 16.6% 8.5% 2.1%
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