Recent Updates

  • Pakistan: BOP (Sep)
  • China Sector: China: Energy Sector Statistics (Sep)
  • China Sector: China: Real Estate Statistics (Sep)
  • China Sector: China: Transportation Statistics (Sep)
  • France: Central Government Debt (Sep), Financing Access Survey (Q3)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks as Exports Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  April 17, 2019

The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services declined to $49.38 billion during February. It was the narrowest shortfall since June of last year and compared to December's record of $59.90 billion. A deficit of $53.8 billion had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The deficit narrowed as exports increased 1.1% (2.4% y/y) and imports rose 0.2% (-0.5% y/y).

The strength in exports was fueled by a 1.5% rise (2.6% y/y) in goods exports. A 4.6% advance (5.1% y/y) in capital goods exports accompanied a 4.3% rise (-2.4% y/y) in auto exports. Nonauto consumer goods exports improved 0.2% (6.8% y/y). Working 2.3% lower (+3.9% y/y) were exports of foods, feeds & beverages. Exports of industrial supplies & materials eased 0.9% (+0.2 y/y), the fourth consecutive monthly drop.

Imports of goods nudged 0.4% higher (-1.0% y/y). Holding back the increase was a 2.7% decline (-9.8% y/y) in imports of industrial supplies. Imports of foods, feeds & beverages dropped 1.6% (-4.0% y/y) and automotive imports were fairly stable (2.6% y/y). Nonauto consumer goods imports rose 2.8% (1.9% y/y) and capital goods imports gained 0.3% (-0.7% y/y).

Petroleum imports increased 4.9% (-18.4% y/y) in February. The value of nonpetroleum imports edged 0.1% higher (0.6% y/y). The price of crude oil imports rose 10.1% (-14.1% y/y) to $46.89 per barrel.

Services exports improved 0.3% (2.0% y/y) as transport exports rose 2.1% (0.1% y/y) and travel exports rose 0.1% (0.9% y/y). Charges for the use of intellectual property were fairly steady (-4.0% y/y) for the fourth consecutive month.

Imports of services fell 0.6% (+1.4% y/y). The value of transport imports declined 2.5% (+5.5% y/y) and travel imports were off 0.9% (+6.0% y/y). Charges for the use of intellectual property eased 0.1% (-15.1% y/y).

The trade deficit with China fell sharply to $30.12 billion (SA), its narrowest in two years. Exports fell 13.9% y/y while imports dropped 12.8% y/y. The trade deficit with Japan deepened significantly to $6.67 billion as exports rose 2.7% y/y and imports increased 5.5% y/y. The trade deficit with the European Union narrowed to $12.41 billion due to a 14.1% y/y rise in exports and a 1.6% y/y increase in imports.

The international trade data as well as oil prices can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures on international trade 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 $) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
U.S. Trade Deficit ($ bil.) 49.38 51.13 59.90 55.72
(2/18)
622.11 552.28 502.00
Exports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 1.1 1.0 -1.9 2.4 6.4 6.1 -2.2
Imports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 0.2 -2.6 2.1 -0.5 7.6 6.8 -1.7
  Petroleum (% Chg) 4.9 -6.2 -8.7 -18.4 21.0 27.2 -19.5
  Nonpetroleum Goods (% Chg) 0.1 -2.8 3.4 0.6 7.5 5.6 -1.2
close
large image