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Economy in Brief

U.S. Goods Trade Deficit Increases in August
by Tom Moeller  September 28, 2021

• Exports post another firm gain.

• Imports recoup much of July's decline.

The advance estimate of the U.S. international trade deficit in goods deepened to $87.60 billion in August from $86.82 billion in July. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a deficit of $87.0 billion. Exports rose 0.7% during August (25.6% y/y) after July's 1.8% increase. Imports rebounded 0.8% in August (17.8% y/y) after a 1.1% decline in July.

By end-use category, exports of industrial supplies & materials rose 5.9% (45.7% y/y) with the rise in oil prices. Consumer goods exports gained 2.3% (28.5% y/y) after increasing 4.5% in July. Elsewhere, there was weakness. Automotive vehicles & parts exports declined 8.7% (-7.4% y/y) after a 5.3% increase. Exports of foods, feeds & beverages weakened 5.7% (+8.4% y/y) in August after edging 0.4% higher in July. Capital goods shipments declined 1.5% (+20.5% y/y) following July's 2.2% rise.

The August rise in imports was led by a 3.0% surge (48.7% y/y) in industrial supplies & materials which reversed July's 2.9% decline. Consumer goods imports rose 4.6% in August (10.1% y/y) after sharp declines in the prior two months. Elsewhere imports declined. Imports of automotive vehicles & parts, fell 5.3% in August (+0.5% y/y) after a 3.8% rise in July. Imports of foods, feeds & beverages dropped 1.7% (+17.0% y/y) after July's 0.5% dip. Capital goods imports edged down 0.3% (+15.9% y/y) in August after easing 0.1% in July.

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 $) Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
U.S. Trade Balance ($ bil.) -87.60 -86.82 -92.01 -82.19 (8/20) -911.06 -850.92 -870.36
Exports (% Chg) 0.7 1.8 0.1 25.6 -13.3 -1.4 7.7
Imports (% Chg) 0.8 -1.1 1.7 17.8 -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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