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Economy in Brief

U.S. Goods Trade Deficit Shrinks in October
by Tom Moeller  November 24, 2021

• Exports strengthen broadly.

• Imports again edge higher.

The advance estimate of the U.S. international trade deficit in goods eased to $82.89 billion in October from the record $97.03 billion in September. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a deficit of $94.5 billion. Exports surged 10.7% (25.5% y/y) after September's 4.7% decline. Imports rose 0.5% in October (16.3% y/y) after rising 0.9% during the prior month.

By end-use category, exports of foods, feeds & vegetables surged 16.5% (11.6% y/y) in October following two months of decline. Motor vehicle & parts exports strengthened 14.4% (-0.4% y/y), also after two months of decline. Industrial supplies & materials exports surged 11.9% in October (92.3% y/y) with higher oil prices. Capital goods exports increased 7.2% (16.2% y/y) after declining 3.6% in September. Nonauto consumer goods exports rose 8.0% last month (33.4% y/y) after increasing 3.7% in September.

The October increase in imports was led by a 5.7% rise (-14.7% y/y) in auto & parts imports. Imports of foods, feeds & beverages rose 1.9% (19.8% y/y) in October after easing modestly in each of the prior three months. Nonauto consumer goods imports edged 0.9% higher (10.8% y/y) after falling  0.1% in September. To the downside, industrial supplies & materials imports weakened 1.2% (+49.8% y/y) after a 1.2% September falloff. Capital goods imports eased 0.9% (+14.5% y/y) after surging 4.0% in September.

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) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2020 2019 2018
U.S. Trade Balance ($ bil.) -82.89 -97.03 -88.00 -81.14 (10/20) -911.06 -850.92 -870.36
  Exports (% Chg) 10.7 -4.7 0.8 25.5 -13.3 -1.4 7.7
  Imports (% Chg) 0.5 0.9 1.0 16.3 -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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