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Economy in Brief

Advance U.S. Trade Deficit in Goods Deepens in February
by Tom Moeller  March 26, 2021

• Int'l trade deficit sets new record.

• Both exports and imports decline.

The advance estimate of the U.S. trade deficit in goods widened to $86.72 billion in February from $84.58 billion in January. An $85.1 billion deficit had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Exports declined 3.8% (-5.4% y/y) after a 1.5% January gain. Imports weakened 1.4% (+10.1% y/y) following a 1.6% rise. During January and February, the trade deficit averaged $85.65 billion versus $83.44 billion averaged in Q4'20.

Exports of capital goods and autos & parts each declined 5.9%. Nonauto consumer goods exports fell 5.7%. Foods, feeds & beverages exports were off 5.4% while industrial supplies & materials exports eased 0.1%.

Imports of autos & parts fell 10.7% while food & beverage imports declined 4.8%. Nonauto consumer goods imports weakened 4.6%. Capital goods imports were fairly steady but industrial supplies imports surged 8.2% with higher oil prices.

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 in AS1REPNA.

Advance U.S. Foreign Trade in Goods (Customs Value $) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
U.S. Trade Deficit ($ bil.) -86.72 -84.58 -83.19 -59.49 (2/20) -904.95 -854.37 -872.04
Exports (% Chg) -3.8 1.5 4.6 -5.4 -12.9 -1.4 7.7
Imports (% Chg) -1.4 1.6 1.4 10.1 -6.4 -1.6 8.5

Note: Current month is based on Advance Trade data; Previous months reflect revised data from International Trade release.

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