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Trade Deficit Decrease Accelerates as Import Decline Outpaces Export Drop

Friday, April 03, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade statistics released April 2 by the Department of Commerce show that the monthly U.S. trade deficit in goods and services plummeted 16.9 percent in February to $35.4 billion, the lowest since October 2009. Commerce Secretary Penny Priztker said that while overall exports were down the U.S. saw record monthly exports of consumer goods, legal services and insurance services.

Total Imports and Exports. Imports totaled $221.7 billion, down 4.4 percent, and exports totaled $186.2 billion, down 1.6 percent. The year-to-date deficit was down 3.2 percent from a year earlier as exports declined 1.4 percent and imports lost 1.7 percent.

Goods. The goods deficit dropped 11.8 percent to $55.2 billion. Imports of goods fell 5.4 percent to $180.8 billion, with a significant decline in crude oil. Exports of goods totaled $125.6 billion, down 2.4 percent, with large drops in civilian aircraft, non-monetary gold and semiconductors.

Services. The services surplus slipped 0.5 percent to $19.7 billion. Imports rose 0.2 percent to $40.9 billion and exports edged down 0.2 percent to $60.6 billion.

Country Deficits. Goods deficits were higher with Mexico (up 15.4 percent to $4.5 billion) and Canada (up 75 percent to $1.4 billion). Goods deficits were lower with China (down 6.9 percent to $27.3 billion), the European Union (down 9.1 percent to $11.0 billion), Germany (down 6.0 percent to $6.3 billion), Japan (down 33.8 percent to $4.3 billion) and South Korea (down 29.0 percent to $2.2 percent).

Country Surpluses. The U.S. ran goods trade surpluses with South and Central America (up 63.7 percent to $3.6 billion) and Brazil (up 14.3 percent to $0.8 billion).

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