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Trade Deficit Falls Again in October as Exports, Imports Both Drop

Monday, December 12, 2011
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade statistics released Dec. 9 by the Department of Commerce show that the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services continued a recent downward trend in October, falling 1.6% to $43.5 billion. Exports slipped by $1.5 billion to $180.6 billion after a 1.4% gain in September while imports fell $2.2 billion to $224.8 billion after a small increase the month before. Compared to a year earlier, the October trade deficit was up by $4.0 billion (compared to a $0.9 billion drop in September) as exports increased by $19.7 billion (12.3%) and imports rose $23.7 billion (11.9%).

According to DOC, the goods trade deficit fell by another $0.7 billion in October to $58.8 billion while the services surplus remained at $15.3 billion. Exports of goods declined $1.5 billion to $127.8 billion while imports contracted by $2.2 billion to $186.6 billion. Services exports were virtually unchanged at $51.4 billion but imports saw a second straight $0.1 billion rise, to $36.1 billion.

Bilateral trade deficits stayed the same with China ($28.1 billion), Germany ($4.3 billion) and Nigeria ($1.9 billion). Deficits were down with Canada (37.1% to $2.2 billion) and Korea (6.7% to $1.4 billion) but increased with the European Union (25% to $8.0 billion), Japan (19.2% to $6.2 billion), Mexico (6% to $5.3 billion), Ireland (21.8% to $2.8 billion), Venezuela (15% to $2.3 billion) and Taiwan (13.3% to $1.7 billion). The U.S. ran trade surpluses with Hong Kong ($3.0 billion, down 32.5%), Australia ($2.1 billion, up 50%), Singapore ($1.0 billion, down 23.1%) and Egypt ($0.2 billion, up 100%).

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