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Imports and Exports Rise, Driving Increase in Monthly and Annual U.S. Trade Deficits

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased 5.4 percent in December and was up 12.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to trade statistics released Feb. 6 by the Department of Commerce. The annual deficit was the highest since 2008.

Monthly statistics. The monthly trade deficit rose to $53.1 billion in December, the highest level in more than nine years. Exports were up 1.8 percent to a record $203.4 billion while imports also hit an all-time high, rising 2.5 percent to $256.5 billion.

The deficit in goods trade gained 3.7 percent to $73.3 billion in December. Imports of goods were up 2.9 percent to $210.8 billion, including increases of $1.8 billion in pharmaceutical preparations, $1.7 billion in cell phones and other household goods, and $1.1 billion in passenger cars. Exports of goods rose 2.5 percent to $137.5 billion, including increases of $800 million in civilian aircraft, $700 million in other industrial machines, and $200 million each in organic chemicals and fuel oil.

The services surplus was down 0.5 percent to $20.2 billion. Imports gained 0.7 percent to $45.7 billion and exports gained 0.2 percent to $65.9 billion.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$34.0 billion

+1.5

   

European Union

$17.2 billion

+27.4

   

Mexico

$6.1 billion

+5.2

   

Germany

$5.7 billion

+7.5

Japan

$5.5 billion

-5.2

   

Italy

$3.7 billion

+32.1

   

India

$2.1 billion

-12.5

   

South Korea

$2.1 billion

+23.5

   

France

$2.1 billion

+61.5

   

Taiwan

$1.6 billion

+77.8

Canada

$1.4 billion

+27.3

   

Saudi Arabia

$0.6 billion

+200

   

South/Central America

$3.7 billion

+42.3

Hong Kong

   

$2.5 billion

+10.7

Brazil

$1.1 billion

+266.7

Singapore

   

$0.9 billion

-10.0

United Kingdom

   

$0.3 billion

-25.0

Annual statistics. For all of 2017 the U.S. trade deficit totaled $566.0 billion, up $61.2 billion from 2016. Exports rose 5.5 percent to $2.33 trillion and imports gained 6.7 percent to $2.90 trillion.

The goods deficit increased 7.6 percent to $810.0 billion. Exports were up 6.6 percent to $1.55 trillion, including increases of $12.4 billion in crude oil, $8.7 billion in other petroleum products, $8.6 billion in fuel oil, $6.6 billion in other industrial machines, and $4.4 billion in civilian aircraft engines. Imports were up 6.9 percent to $2.36 trillion, including gains of $31.0 billion in crude oil, $9.5 billion in cell phones and other household goods, $8.1 billion in computers, and $7.4 billion in other industrial machines.

The services surplus fell 1.5 percent to $244.0 billion. Exports increased 3.4 percent to $777.9 billion while imports rose 5.8 percent to $533.9 billion.

The deficit was 2.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2017, up from 2.7 percent in 2016.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$375.2 billion

+8.1

   

European Union

$151.4 billion

+3.5

   

Mexico

$71.1 billion

+12.5

Japan

$68.8 billion

-0.1

   

Germany

$64.3 billion

-0.9

   

Ireland

$38.1 billion

+9.2

   

Italy

$31.6 billion

+10.9

 

Malaysia

$24.6 billion

-0.8

   

South Korea

$22.9 billion

-17.3

   

India

$22.9 billion

-5.8

   

Thailand

$20.4 billion

+7.9

   

Canada

$17.6 billion

+57.1

   

France

$15.3 billion

-3.2

   

Switzerland

$14.3 billion

+4.4

   

Taiwan

$13.6 billion

_25.6

   

Indonesia

$13.3 billion

+0.8

   
   

South & Central America

   

$34.3 billion

+19.1

Hong Kong

   

$32.5 billion

+18.2

Netherlands

   

$24.5 billion

+1.2

Belgium

   

$14.8 billion

-3.3

Australia

   

$14.6 billion

+15.0

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