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Economy in Brief

U.S. Trade Deficit Widens
by Tom Moeller  October 5, 2016

The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased to $40.7 billion during August from an unrevised $39.5 billion in July. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a $40.0 billion deficit.

Overall exports increased 0.8% (0.7% y/y) following a 1.9% rise. Exports of goods rose 0.6% (0.7% y/y) after a 3.1% jump. Industrial supplies & materials exports gained 4.2% (-1.6% y/y) after an 11.5% rise. Automotive vehicle & parts exports rose 3.1% (1.0% y/y), the same as they did in July. To the downside, foods, feeds and beverage exports declined 2.3% (+33.9% y/y) following a 33.9% surge powered by soybean exports. Capital goods exports were off 1.6% (-5.5% y/y) on the heels of a 0.5% fall. Nonauto consumer goods exports fell 0.7% (+1.0% y/y). Services exports improved 0.5% (0.3% y/y) after a 0.1% easing as travel exports jumped 1.2% (3.0% y/y). Exports of financial services gained 0.3% (-7.4% y/y) following a 1.8% decline. Charges for the use of intellectual property eased 0.2% (-4.5% y/y) after a 0.1% dip.

Total imports increased 1.2% (-1.2% y/y) after a 0.7% decline. Imports of goods rose 0.6% (-2.5% y/y) following a 1.0% drop. Petroleum product imports increased 2.2% (-12.5% y/y), but the price per barrel of crude oil fell to $39.38 from $41.02. Nonpetroleum product imports rose 0.5% (-1.5% y/y). Foods, feeds & beverage imports rose 2.4% (2.8% y/y) after a 2.0% rise. Capital goods imports also increased 2.4%, but were unchanged y/y. Auto imports rose 0.9% (-3.0% y/y) following a 0.2% easing. Nonauto consumer goods imports fell 0.6% (-5.1% y/y) following a 3.0% drop. Services imports improved 3.6% (4.8% y/y) owing to a 37.7% surge (38.0% y/y) in the use of intellectual property. Travel imports increased 1.6% (9.7% y/y) and financial services imports rose 0.3% (-2.6% y/y).

By country, the trade deficit with China deepened to $33.9 billion, its deepest since October. Exports rose 2.6% (2.4% y/y) while imports jumped 9.5% (-2.0% y/y). The trade deficit with Japan was little changed at $6.0 billion. Exports rose 0.6% y/y while imports strengthened 8.5% y/y. The trade deficit with the European Union deepened to $13.9 billion. Exports rose 3.9% y/y while imports rose 2.7% y/y.

The international trade data can be found in Haver's USECON database. Detailed figures are available in the USINT database. The expectations figures are from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, which is carried in the AS1REPNA.

Foreign Trade in Goods & Services (Current Dollars) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
U.S. Trade Deficit $40.7 bil. $39.5 bil. $44.7 bil. $44.6 bil.
(8/15)
$500.4 bil. $490.2 bil. $461.9 bil.
Exports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 0.8 1.9 0.8 0.7 -4.9 3.6 3.4
Imports of Goods & Services (% Chg) 1.2 -0.7 1.9 -1.2 -3.7 4.0 0.0
  Petroleum (% Chg) 2.2 -4.9 19.4 -12.5 -45.5 -9.6 -11.0
  Nonpetroleum Goods (% Chg) 0.5 -0.7 1.2 -1.5 2.2 6.5 2.0
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