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Economy in Brief

U.S. Goods Trade Deficit Increases in September
by Tom Moeller  October 27, 2021

• Exports decline sharply.

• Imports again rise modestly.

The advance estimate of the U.S. international trade deficit in goods deepened to $96.25 billion in September from $88.16 billion in August. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a deficit of $88.4 billion. Exports fell 4.7% during September (+16.8% y/y) after August's 0.8% increase. Imports rose 0.5% in September (18.0% y/y) after rising 1.0% during the prior month.

By end-use category, exports were reduced last month by a 9.9% falloff (+31.1% y/y) in industrial supplies & materials shipments which followed a 6.6% August gain. Capital goods exports fell 3.6% in September (+12.4% y/y) after declining 1.9% in August. Automotive exports dropped 2.0% last month (-11.7% y/y) following an 8.0% decline. Exports of foods, feeds & beverages weakened 1.7% in September (-4.2% y/y) after falling 5.0% in August. To the upside, nonauto consumer goods exports gained 4.2% in September (31.2% y/y) after increasing 1.6% in August.

The September rise in imports was led by a 3.6% surge (18.2% y/y) in capital goods imports which followed a 0.4% August dip. Industrial supplies & materials imports rose 1.2% (56.0% y/y) with the rise in oil prices and added to August's 3.3% rise. To the downside, automotive vehicle and auto parts imports fell 7.7% last month (-16.6% y/y) following a 5.2% August drop. Nonauto consumer goods imports eased 0.7% in September (+11.8% y/) after increasing 4.9% in August. Imports of foods, feeds & beverages weakened 0.4% (+16.7% y/y), the third consecutive monthly decline.

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 (Census Basis) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
U.S. Trade Balance ($ bil.) -96.25 -88.16 -86.92 -80.24 (9/20) -911.06 -850.92 -870.36
Exports (% Chg) -4.7 0.8 1.8 16.8 -13.3 -1.4 7.7
Imports (% Chg) 0.5 1.0 -1.0 18.0 -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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