Recent Updates

  • China: International Trade (Aug-Final)
  • US: Consumer Sentiment (Sep-prelim)
  • Germany: Real Estate Opinion (Sep)
  • Slovakia: BOP (Jul)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit Deepens to Record in March
by Tom Moeller  May 4, 2021

• Exports & improve moderately.

• Oil prices lift petroleum imports.

The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services widened to $74.4 billion during March from February's $70.5 billion, revised from $71.1 billion. The deficit was a record for this measure which dates back to January 1992. The Action Economics Forecast Survey anticipated a $74.5 billion deficit.

Exports increased 6.6% (8.1% y/y) following a 2.4% decline. Imports rose 6.3% (18.1% y/y).

The trade deficit in goods deepened to a record $91.6 billion in March from $87.9 billion in February. The advance trade data reported last month showed a goods deficit of $90.6 billion. Exports of goods increased 8.9% (11.9% y/y) as nonauto consumer goods exports strengthened 13.3% (16.0% y/y). Capital goods exports rose 7.5% (-1.0% y/y) while auto exports strengthened 7.2% (15.3% y/y). Imports of goods rose 7.0% (20.8% y/y). Auto imports improved 7.3% (8.4% y/y), after falling for two months while nonauto consumer goods imports rose 7.4% (38.0% y/y). Capital goods imports increased 5.6% (16.5% y/y).

Petroleum imports increased 15.4% in March (30.9% y/y) as prices rose. Crude oil prices averaged $62.63 per barrel versus $59.12 in February. In constant dollars, oil imports gained 7.2% (0.5% y/y). Nonoil imports rose 6.5% (20.1% y/y) and in constant dollars they increased 5.5% (15.5% y/y).

The March services trade surplus narrowed to $17.1 billion. It was the smallest surplus since January 2012, down from a peak surplus of $26.6 billion in March 2018. The value of services exports rose 1.4% (-0.6% y/y). Travel exports rose 9.6% (-26.7% y/y). Charges for the use of intellectual property eased 0.1% (+11.2% y/y). Imports of services rose 2.8% (4.8% y/y). Travel imports rose 6.4% (-19.1% y/y). Intellectual property imports edged 0.1% higher (-4.4% y/y).

The goods trade deficit with China deepened sharply in March to a seasonally adjusted $36.9 billion from $30.3 billion. Exports rose 8.6% (56.8% y/y) and imports rose 18.6% (99.4% y/y). The trade deficit with Japan deepened to $5.1 billion and the deficit with the European Union narrowed to $16.9 billion.

The international trade data, including relevant data on 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 $) Mar Feb Jan Mar '20 2020 2019 2018
U.S. Trade Deficit ($ bil.) 74.45 70.52 67.82 47.24 681.70 576.86 579.94
Mar. Y/Y
Exports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 6.6 -2.4 1.1 8.1 -15.9 -0.4 6.4
Imports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 6.3 -0.7 1.2 18.1 -9.5 -0.5 7.5
  Petroleum (% Chg) 15.4 8.7 15.9 30.9 -39.9 -14.0 20.8
  Nonpetroleum Goods (% Chg) 6.5 -1.5 0.9 20.1 -3.6 -0.4 7.4
close
large image