U.S. exports of manufactured goods broke out of their stagnant pattern of the last few months and grew 2.7 percent in November, to a seasonally-adjusted value of $87.8 billion (See graph below). On a year over year basis, November manufactured goods exports were 16.7 percent higher than last year – staying ahead of the 15 percent annual rate of growth needed to double exports in five years.
Manufactured goods imports outpaced exports, however, growing 4.4 percent in November, to a seasonally-adjusted value of $124.4 billion. The manufactured goods trade deficit, as a result, grew to a seasonally-adjusted $36.7 billion, up $3 billion from October. (Department of Commerce news release.)
The important sector of capital goods, which is over 40 percent of U.S. manufactured goods exports, remained problematic. November capital goods exports grew only 0.5 percent, while imports were up 2.5 percent, and the deficit on capital good rose to $1.8 billion.
The big surprise was in consumer goods, where U.S. export soared 7 percent over October, while imports fell 3 percent. As a result, the consumer goods deficit shrunk $2 billion, to $26 billion.
The latest data confirm that U.S. manufactured goods trade with U.S. trade agreement partners appears poised to show a surplus of more than $20 billion for the third straight year. The manufactured goods deficit is entirely with countries that do not have bilateral trade agreements with the United States.
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