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Trade Deficit Resumes Downward Trend as Exports Increase, Oil Imports Drop

Monday, April 08, 2013
By Shawn McCausland
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade statistics released April 5 by the Department of Commerce show that the monthly U.S. trade deficit dropped 3.4% in January to $43.0 billion after a 16.5% jump in January. Monthly exports rose 0.87% to $186.0 billion and imports saw a slight gain to $228.9 billion. Press reports indicate that these figures reflect a drop in oil imports to their lowest level since 1996 and an improving demand for U.S. goods in foreign markets. Compared to a year earlier the February trade deficit was down $1.6 billion as exports increased by 3.2% ($5.8 billion) and imports saw a 1.9% gain ($4.2 billion).

The monthly deficit in goods trade declined 2.4% in February to $60.2 billion. Exports of goods rose 1.0% to $132.2 billion while imports edged downward to $192.4 billion. The services surplus was virtually unchanged at $17.3 billion as exports and imports both moved up $0.2 billion to $53.8 billion and $36.5 billion, respectively.

The bilateral trade deficit with China resumed its downward slide in February, falling 15.8% to $23.4 billion a month after a 13.5% gain. The U.S. also saw smaller deficits with Japan (3.3% to $5.9 billion), OPEC (43.8% to $3.6 billion), Canada (45.8% to $2.6 billion), India (20% to $1.2 billion), Korea (42.9% to $1.2 billion) and Venezuela (45% to $1.1 billion). Deficits increased with the European Union (2.3% to $8.8 billion), Germany (7.1% to $4.5 billion), Mexico (19.4% to $4.3 billion) and Ireland (15.8% to $2.2 billion).

The U.S. continued to run surpluses with several trade partners, including Hong Kong (up 22.2% to $3.3 billion), Australia (up 8.3% to $1.3 billion), Singapore (up 28.6% to $0.9 billion) and Brazil (up 88.9% to $1.7 billion).

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