June Data Confirms Manufactured Goods Trade is Stabilizing

By August 12, 2009Policy Experts, Trade

The sharp decline in U.S. exports and imports of manufactured goods appears to be stabilizing, according to the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) analysis of the June trade data released today by the Department of Commerce. (Commerce factsheet)

Manufactured goods exports were $67 billion in June, seasonally adjusted, marking the fourth month in a row of exports being at about $67 billion after falling sharply late last year and early in 2009. Seasonally-adjusted imports were $93 billion, also in line with the average for the past four months.

The manufactured goods balance was stable as well, about at the -$25 billion average deficit for the past four months. That marks a sharp improvement from the roughly -$45 billion peak monthly deficits in 2006, as is apparent in the graph below. The sharp improvement has resulted from exports performing better than imports – in part because of the drop in U.S. demand for automobile and consumer goods imports.

While there is hope the stability in U.S. trade marks the end of the sharp decline in U.S. exports, which are off 25 percent from a year ago, signs of significant growth are not yet apparent. For example, in the critical capital goods sector that normally accounts for half of U.S. manufactured goods exports, only 14 of the 32 product groups showed growth in June.

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