Tag: manufactured goods exports

U.S. Trade Deficit Edged Slightly Higher in May, Oil Imports at Lowest in 13 Years

The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit edged slightly higher, up from $40.70 billion in April to $41.87 billion in May. The deficit has been highly volatile so far this year, ranging from $37.25 billion in February to $50.57 billion in March, but the year-to-date average of $42.57 billion in 2015 is nearly identical to the $42.36 billion average observed in all of 2014. The May increase stemmed largely from a decline in goods exports (down from $129.34 billion to $127.72 billion) that more than offset the decrease in goods imports (down from $189.65 billion to $189.23 billion). At the same time, the service sector trade surplus inched up marginally from $19.62 billion to $19.64 billion. (continue reading…)

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First Quarter Real GDP Upwardly Revised to a Decline of 0.2 Percent

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the U.S. economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter. This second revision was an improvement upon the 0.7 percent decline seen in the previous estimate. Looking at the newer data, the improvement came from slightly better figures for personal consumption, nonresidential fixed investments, inventory replenishment, and state and local government spending. Yet, the underlying trends were not altered much, including the following:

  • The largest drag on growth in the first quarter was from net exports, subtracting 1.9 percentage points from the headline number. In this revision, the decline in goods exports was slower than in the prior release (down 7.5 percent instead of 14.0 percent), but this was offset by a bigger increase in goods imports (up 7.2 percent instead of 5.1 percent). International demand for manufactured goods exports has been dampened by the strong dollar and continued softness in economic markets abroad. (continue reading…)
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Global Manufacturing Economic Update – June 11, 2015

Here is the summary for this month’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update: 

There continue to be mixed assessments of the economy, including from reports released last week. For instance, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) lowered its forecasts to 2.0 percent growth for the United States, with the global economy growing just 3.1 percent. This fell from the 3.1 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, seen in its November 2014 outlook. It also mirrors the downgrade of the National Association of Business Economists’ (NABE) estimated U.S. growth this year, from 3.1 percent in the March survey to 2.4 percent now. Business leaders were also less upbeat in the latest National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, with the headline index down from 59.9 in the first quarter to 51.7 in the second quarter. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – June 8, 2015

Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report: 

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book reported that the economy expanded modestly in its recent assessment. More importantly, it said that activity for manufacturers “held steady or increased over the reporting period” in all of its regions except for the Dallas and Kansas City districts. Those two regions have been rocked by lower crude oil prices and sluggish export growth in particular. Yet, beyond those challenges, the Federal Reserve noted some improvements in retail spending (especially for motor vehicles), housing and employment. Despite this mostly upbeat economic analysis, the Federal Reserve is keenly aware of the challenges that exist in the marketplace, as noted in the minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Indeed, data released last week continue to reflect a softer-than-desired level of activity in many areas, even as manufacturers might remain cautiously optimistic about the future and some of the measures rebounded somewhat. (continue reading…)

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U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed in April After Peaking in March

The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed, down from $50.57 billion in March to $40.88 billion in April. March’s deficit had been the highest in more than three years, and it was likely influenced by the West Coast ports slowdown, which combined with a stronger U.S. dollar and weaknesses in markets abroad have combined to provide a headwind for manufacturers. Therefore, it was encouraging to see the trade deficit return to a level that was more consistent with its recent trend in April. More specifically, the sharp decline in the trade deficit was the result of a significant drop in goods imports (down from $197.08 billion to $189.65 billion) and an increase in goods exports (up from $127.10 billion to $129.00 billion). (continue reading…)

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The U.S. Economy Contracted in the First Quarter for the Second Year in a Row

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter for the second year in a row. Real GDP shrank by 0.7 percent in the first quarter, according to the latest revision. It was originally reported to be a gain of 0.2 percent. Overall, these data continue to show the effects of strong headwinds on the economy and for manufacturers in the early months of 2015. These challenges have included weaknesses abroad, a strong U.S. dollar, lower crude oil prices, the residual effects of the West Coast ports slowdown, bad weather in some regions of the country and a still-cautious consumer.

The largest declines came from net exports, which subtracted 1.90 percentage points from real GDP in the first quarter. Goods exports plummeted 14.0 percent for the quarter, with goods imports up 5.1 percent. International demand for manufactured goods exports have been hampered the stronger dollar and weaker-than-desired economic growth in key markets. Net exports have been a drain on growth in four of the past five quarters. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – May 11, 2015

Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report: 

Once again, there was evidence last week that significant headwinds have dampened activity in the manufacturing sector. The sector added just 1,000 net new workers in April, marking the third consecutive month with soft hiring. The data suggest that challenges from a strong dollar, slowing growth abroad, lower crude oil prices, residual effects from the West Coast ports slowdown, a cautious consumer and weather have combined to take their toll on the economy, at least for the time being. (continue reading…)

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The U.S. Trade Deficit Widened to a 6 1/2-Year High in March

The Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit widened substantially, up from $35.89 billion in February to $51.37 billion in March. This was the largest monthly trade deficit since October 2008, or roughly 6 1/2 years. There were two primary factors for this. First, goods imports soared for the month, up from $181.27 billion to $197.63 billion. To be fair, however, the February figure was exceptionally low, with March’s value essentially equal to the 2014 goods imports average of $197.58 billion. The larger factor was on the goods exports side. Goods exports rose from $125.59 billion to $127.07 billion, not enough to counteract the gain in imports. Moreover, goods exports in March were well below the 2014 average of $136.26 billion, helping to explain the large shift in the headline trade deficit number over the past few months. Indeed, sluggish growth abroad and a stronger U.S. dollar have combined to present a major headwind for manufacturers seeking to grow demand overseas.  (continue reading…)

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The U.S. Economy Stagnated in the First Quarter

I was not surprised today to see the stagnated growth numbers on the latest GDP data (growth of just 0.2 percent for the first quarter of 2015).  For weeks, I have spoken about a number of headwinds in the economy which have negatively impacted manufacturing activity. These challenges have included weaknesses abroad, a strong U.S. dollar, lower crude oil prices, a West Coast ports slowdown, bad weather in some regions of the country and a still-cautious consumer.

From a manufacturing perspective, the real drag on growth has come from the lack of exports and government spending. With softer global growth and an accelerated dollar, it has been harder for U.S. manufacturers to increase demand overseas. Goods exports fell 13.3 percent in the first quarter, with goods imports edging up 0.9 percent. As a whole, the net export of goods and services subtracted 1.25 percentage points from the final real GDP number. Net exports have been a drain on growth in four of the past five quarters. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – March 9, 2015

Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

According to the latest NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers, which will be released this morning, business leaders remain mostly confident about activity over the coming months. In fact, 88.5 percent of respondents said they were either somewhat or very positive about the own company’s outlook, and the data are consistent with 3 percent growth in manufacturing production over the next two quarters. Yet, manufacturers who replied to this survey were slightly less upbeat than they were three months ago, when 91.2 percent of respondents were positive in their outlook. Sales, exports and hiring expectations over the next 12 months also decelerated slightly, even as they remain improved from the paces seen a year ago. (continue reading…)

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