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Economy in Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit Increases
by Tom Moeller  September 5, 2018

The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services widened to $50.08 billion during July from June's $45.74 billion which was little revised from last month's report. It was the deepest deficit since February. A deficit of $49.9 billion had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Exports fell 1.0% (+8.2% y/y) following a 0.7% decline. Imports were up 0.9% (9.1% y/y) after a 0.7% increase.

The deficit on goods trade widened to $73.1 billion in July from $68.9 billion in June. Exports of goods fell 1.6% (+9.6% y/y) following a 1.3% decline. Foods, feeds & beverages exports fell 6.3% (+13.1% y/y) while capital goods exports dropped 2.0% (+3.6% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods exports fell 2.4% (+0.3% y/y) but exports of automotive vehicles & parts increased 1.7% (1.4% y/y). Industrial supplies & materials exports, which includes petroleum, gained 0.5% (23.9% y/y). The value of exports of petroleum strengthened 2.6% (54.4% y/y) after an 8.5% jump.

Imports of goods rose 0.9% (10.3% y/y) in July following a 0.7% increase. Foods, feeds & beverage imports rose 2.2% (7.1% y/y) following a 1.7% decline. Imports of automotive vehicles & parts also gained 1.7% (4.0% y/y) for the second straight month. Industrial supplies & materials imports increased 1.1% (21.3% y/y) as oil prices rose, after a 1.9% increase. Imports of nonauto consumer goods declined 1.5% (+8.0% y/y) after a 1.8% increase.

Petroleum imports advanced 3.7% (50.1% y/y) following a 4.2% gain. The per barrel cost of crude oil rose to $64.63 (49.8% y/y), the highest price since $73.60 in December 2014. The value of energy-related petroleum product imports strengthened 7.6% (55.6% y/y) while the quantity of energy-related product imports rose 4.4% (4.5% y/y).

The surplus on services trade was fairly steady at  $23.06 billion. Services exports increased 0.3% (5.4% y/y) after a 0.5% gain. Travel exports improved 0.2% (2.2% y/y). Charges for the use of intellectual property gained 0.8% (7.6% y/y) and financial services exports were fairly steady (6.5% y/y).

Imports of services rose 0.7% (3.9% y/y) after a 0.8% gain. Travel imports rebounded 1.4% (7.0% y/y) after three consecutive months of decline. Charges for intellectual property rose 0.3% (12.5% y/y) and financial services imports rose 1.4% (7.5% y/y).

The goods trade deficit with China deepened to $34.1 billion (SA) in July. Exports to China rose 2.8% y/y while imports were up 8.0% y/y. The deficit with the European Union deepened to $17.6 billion as exports to Europe increased 11.4% y/y and imports gained 18.7% y/y. The trade deficit with Japan deepened slightly to $5.5 billion as exports to Japan grew 10.6% y/y and imports rose 3.0% y/y.

The international trade data can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database. The expectations figures are from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, which is carried in AS1REPNA.

Foreign Trade in Goods & Services (Current $) Jul Jun May Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
U.S. Trade Deficit ($ bil.) 50.08 45.74 42.56 44.22
(7/17)
552.28 502.00 498.53
Exports of Goods & Services (% Chg) -1.0 -0.7 2.0 8.2 6.1 -2.2 -4.6
  Petroleum (% Chg) 2.6 8.5 0.7 54.4 41.2 -9.6 -32.5
Imports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 0.9 0.7 0.5 9.1 6.8 -1.7 -3.5
  Petroleum (% Chg) 3.7 4.2 -0.7 50.1 27.2 -19.5 -45.5
  Nonpetroleum Goods (% Chg) 0.6 0.4 0.6 7.3 5.6 -1.2 2.2
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