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Economy in Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit Stable M/M But Sharply Deeper Since Last Year
by Tom Moeller June 10, 2010

The latest and revised U.S. foreign trade figures paint the same picture as earlier. An April deficit of $40.3B, stable since February, followed deterioration from its shallowest last May. The latest figure roughly matched Consensus expectations for a deficit of $41.0B.

The deficit's deterioration since last year reflects the U.S. economic recovery. Non-oil imports slipped 0.7% in April but it was the first monthly decline in nearly one year. The 21.1% y/y gain during the last twelve months reflects a two-thirds increase in imports of automotive vehicles & parts. Real nonauto consumer goods imports rose 4.0% y/y while capital goods imports jumped by nearly one-quarter with the strength in business investment. Finally, services imports have risen 6.8% y/y. U.S. travels abroad fell 0.7% y/y while passenger fares surged 15.0% y/y. "Other" transportation services imports jumped 7.7% y/y. Imports of petroleum products slipped marginally in April but were up by two-thirds from last year with the surge in prices.

Nominal exports slipped 0.7% during April following their slightly-revised 3.8% jump during March. Year-to-year, however, exports have risen a strong 19.9% with the dollar's lower value. The monthly dip reflected a 5.3% drop in nonauto consumer goods exports (+10.3% y/y) and a 7.6% drop in food & beverages (+4.2% y/y). These were offset by a 1.9% increase (50.3% y/y) in industrial supplies exports and a 1.4% gain (+57.2% y/y) in autos. In addition, exports of services rose 0.2% (8.0% y/y) as passenger fares were strong.

By country, the trade deficit with mainland China deepened to $19.3B, its deepest since December. Trade with China surged as exports jumped by one-quarter y/y and imports rose by a lesser 18.2%. The trade deficit with Japan eased to $4.8B but imports rose by roughly one-third y/y with the U.S. economic recovery and exports rose 17.2% y/y. With the European Union the trade deficit eased to $5.7B as exports rose 7.0% y/y and imports rose about the same.

The international trade data can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database.

Foreign Trade  April March February Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
U.S. Trade Deficit $40.3B $40.0B $40.1B $28.4B(4/09) $378.6B $695.9B $701.4B
Exports - Goods & Services (m/m) -0.7% 3.8% -0.1% 19.9% -14.6% 11.5% 13.2%
Imports - Goods & Services -0.4 2.9 2.8 23.9 -23.3 8.0 6.0
Petroleum -0.0 6.0 7.4 67.5 -44.0 37.0 9.4
Nonpetroleum Goods -0.7 3.2 1.9 21.1 -20.9 1.5 4.8
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