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Economy in Brief

U.S. Goods Trade Deficit Narrows in February
by Tom Moeller  March 28, 2022

• Exports rebound after sharp decline.

• Imports edge higher following strong increase.

The advance estimate of the U.S. international trade deficit in goods eased to $106.59 billion in February from the record $107.57 billion in January. A $106.8 billion deficit had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Exports of goods increased 1.2% (20.7% y/y) following a 1.5% decline. Imports gained 0.3% (21.1% y/y) after increasing 1.8% in January.

The February increase in exports reflected a 6.3% (33.8% y/y) rebound in non-auto consumer goods which followed a 13.6% January decline. Exports of foods, feeds & beverages rose 3.6% last month (5.9% y/y) after holding steady in January. Industrial supplies & materials exports rose 2.6% last month (30.5% y/y) after edging 0.8% higher. Working 3.4% lower (1.6% y/y) were exports of autos & parts following a 5.1% decline. Capital goods exports were off 1.7% in February (+16.5% y/y) after they rose 2.4% in January.

Imports increased as industrial supplies & materials surged 4.4% in February (39.3% y/y) after rising 2.6% in January. Capital goods imports rose 1.5% (16.6% y/y), about as they did in January. Nonauto consumer goods imports improved 0.6% (20.0% y/y) following a 0.9% gain. These increases were offset last month by a 9.9% decline (+4.0% y/y) in imports of autos & parts which came after a 5.1% increase. Also falling by 3.0% (+26.1% y/y) were imports of foods, feeds & beverages which followed January's 8.6% rise.

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) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2021 2020 2019
U.S. Trade Balance ($ bil.) -106.59 -107.57 -100.67 -87.59 (2/21) -1,078.57 -911.06 -850.92
Exports (% Chg) 1.2 -1.5 1.4 20.7 23.1 -13.3 -1.4
Imports (% Chg) 0.3 1.8 2.2 21.1 21.3 -6.3 -1.7

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

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