The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level in six months. The trade deficit rose from $45.88 billion in January to $47.06 billion in February. The increase stemmed primarily from an increase in goods imports (up from $180.64 billion to $183.33 billion) that was enough to offset the gain in goods exports (up from $116.77 billion to $118.59 billion). In addition, the service sector trade surplus narrowed from $17.98 billion to $17.68 billion. Meanwhile, the petroleum trade deficit declined from $4.62 billion in January to $3.55 billion in February. Indeed, imports of crude oil fell to their lowest level in 14 years. Read More
The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit widened slightly, up from $42.23 billion in November to $43.36 billion. The underlying data were little changed from the month before, with marginal shift in goods exports (down from $121.94 billion to $121.16 billion) and goods imports (up from $183.18 billion to $183.67 billion). The service sector trade surplus also inched up a touch, increasing from $19.02 billion to $19.16 billion. For 2015 as a whole, the trade deficit averaged $42.29 billion, which was not far from the $42.36 billion seen in 2014. Yet, the underlying data reflect some major changes behind the scenes. Goods exports were off sharply, down from an average of $136.05 billion in 2014 to $126.16 billion in 2015, and a similar trend was seen for goods imports, down from $197.84 billion to $183.48 billion.
A fair share of the reduction in goods trade over the past year can be explained by shifts in the petroleum market. Petroleum exports averaged $8.29 billion in 2015, down from $12.03 billion in 2014. Likewise, petroleum imports fell from an average of $27.83 billion in 2014 to $15.17 billion in 2015. In this latest report, the petroleum trade balance widened marginally, up from $5.46 billion to $5.93 billion. Much of the dynamics in these changes over the past year are attributable to sharply lower crude oil prices, and indeed, the average price per barrel in the December calculations ($36.60) was the lowest since January 2005. Read More
The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed somewhat, down from $44.58 billion in October to $42.37 billion in November. These data points mirror averages from the past two years. For instance, the year-to-date average for 2015 was $44.37 billion, which was up from the overall 2014 average of $42.36 billion. The reduced trade deficit in this latest report stemmed mostly from reduced goods imports (down from $187.18 billion to $183.48 billion), with goods exports also slightly lower (down from $123.61 billion to $122.19 billion). Meanwhile, the service sector trade surplus edged down marginally from $18.99 billion to $18.91 billion.
At least part of the decline in goods exports could be explained by a reduction in petroleum exports (down from $7.53 billion to $7.26 billion) to its lowest level since December 2010. As a result, the petroleum trade deficit increased from $4.48 billion to $5.36 billion. Still, the petroleum trade deficit has declined significantly over the course of the past year on reduced energy prices. The monthly average has decreased from $15.81 billion for all of 2014 to $6.92 billion through the first 11 months of 2015.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed, down from $48.02 billion in August to $40.81 billion in September. The August figure was the second-highest of the year, with the September reading reflecting an increase in goods exports (up from $124.44 billion to $127.32 billion) and a decrease in goods imports (down from $192.00 billion to $187.62 billion). The bulk of these shifts came from non-petroleum sources, but the petroleum trade deficit also narrowed, down from $6.95 billion to $5.58 billion. Petroleum imports were at their lowest level since May 2004. At the same time, the service-sector trade surplus was off marginally, down from $19.55 billion to $19.48 billion. Read More
The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit widened significantly again, up from $41.81 billion in July to $48.33 billion in August. This was the second-highest level of the year behind the $52.16 billion pace observed in March. The large increase in August stemmed largely from a bump in goods imports (up from $189.83 billion to $192.37 billion) and a corresponding decline in goods exports (down from $128.53 billion to $124.46 billion). At the same time, the service-sector trade surplus was marginally higher, up from $19.49 billion to $19.58 billion. Read More
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the U.S. trade deficit widened somewhat in June. The trade deficit rose from $40.94 billion in May to $43.84 billion in June, its highest level in three months. This was largely the result of an increase in goods imports, up from $188.40 billion to $191.06 billion. Goods exports were marginally lower, down from $127.79 billion to $127.56 billion. With that said, despite shifts from month-to-month, the U.S. trade deficit has not changed much over the past year and a half. It averaged $42.62 billion in the first half of 2015, which is only slightly higher than the $42.36 billion average observed in all of 2014. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More