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Economy in Brief

Advance U.S. Trade Deficit in Goods Shrinks in February
by Tom Moeller  March 26, 2020

The advance estimate of the U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed to $59.88 billion in February from $65.90 in January. A $63.8 billion deficit had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Exports of goods increased 0.6% m/m (-1.6% y/y) in February following a 0.9% decline. The gain was led by a 5.0% increase in the "other" category which followed a 12.9% decline. Motor vehicles & parts exports also were strong, posting a 3.2% rise (2.1% y/y) on top of a 7.6% January increase. Industrial supplies exports rose 1.5% and recaptured the prior month's decline. Capital goods exports improved 0.5% (-5.6% y/y) following a 2.4% drop. Working the other way were consumer goods exports which fell 4.7% (-10.0% y/y) after a 0.8% rise. Foods, feeds & beverages exports which fell 0.6% (-0.7% y/y) following a 2.1% rise.

Imports of goods fell 2.4% (-7.7% y/y) following a 2.0% decline as most categories exhibited weakness m/m. Capital goods imports weakened 6.8% (-11.2% y/y) after slipping 0.8% in January. Industrial supplies & materials imports fell 3.8% (-10.1% y/y) as oil prices declined. Foods, feeds & beverages imports were off 3.1% both m/m and y/y following a 4.9% gain. Consumer goods imports declined 1.8% (-7.4% y/y) after edging 0.7% higher. Increasing by 4.9% (-4.8% y/y) were auto imports which reversed two months of decline. Imports of other goods also rose 4.9% (7.9% y/y) and recovered much of a 13.5% drop during January.

The advance international trade data can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectation figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, which is carried in AS1REPNA.

Advance U.S. Foreign Trade in Goods (Current Customs Value $) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
U.S. Trade Deficit ($ bil.) 59.88 65.90 68.48 70.31
(02/19)
852.79 874.81 793.41
Exports (% Chg) 0.6 -0.9 0.4 -1.6 -1.3 7.9 6.4
Imports (% Chg) -2.4 -2.0 2.9 -7.7 -1.7 8.7 7.4
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