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Economy in Brief

U.S. Goods Trade Deficit Moderates in July
by Carol Stone, CBE  August 27, 2021

• Exports up, with gains in most end-use groups.

• Imports down; only imports of autos had an increase.

The advance estimate of the U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed to $86.38 billion in July from $92.05 billion in June. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected the July deficit to be $90.5 billion. Exports rose 1.5% (+27.6% y/y) after June's modest 0.2% increase. Imports fell 1.4% in July (+19.6% y/y) following June's 1.8% advance.

By end-use category, the largest monthly percentage gain in July exports was in automotive vehicles & parts, up 5.1% (1.5% y/y), recovering a sizable portion of June's 6.8% reduction. Consumer goods exports rose 4.7% (27.1% y/y) in July, after edging up just 0.3% in June. Capital goods shipments abroad advanced 2.2% (18.3% y/y) last month following June's downtick of 0.2%. To the downside, foods, feeds & beverages exports decreased 0.1% (+19.5% y/y) following an 8.7% drop in June. And exports of industrial supplies (which include oil and other petroleum products) fell 0.3% (+50.3% y/y) in July after June's 8.7% drop.

The decrease in imports in July was led by consumer goods, which fell 4.3% (+10.7% y/y) after a 2.5% reduction in June. Industrial supplies imports fell 3.4% (+37.9% y/y), partially reversing June's 8.9% surge. Imports of foods, feeds & beverages decreased 0.5% (+25.5% y/y) after June's 4.1% advance. Capital goods imports edged down 0.3% (+16.4% y/y) in July after a modest 1.3% rise in June. The one category of imports with a notable increase in July was automotive vehicles & parts, which rose 3.9% (+13.5% y/y) after a 2.4% decline in June.

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 $) Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
U.S. Trade Balance ($ bil.) -86.38 -92.05 -88.11 -79.97 (7/20) -911.06 -850.92 -870.36
Exports (% Chg) 1.5 0.2 0.4 27.6 -13.3 -1.4 7.7
Imports (% Chg) -1.4 1.8 1.2 19.6 -6.3 -1.7 8.4

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

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