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Trade Deficit Falls as Imports Tumble, Exports See Small Gain

Thursday, April 06, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. monthly trade deficit in goods and services fell 9.5 percent in February to $43.6 billion a month after a 9.5 percent increase. Exports edged up 0.2 percent to $192.9 billion while imports slipped 1.8 percent to $236.4 billion.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross used the release of the February statistics to state that the Trump administration is “very focused on eliminating our nation’s trade imbalance.” On March 31 Trump issued an executive order directing the preparation within 90 days of a report identifying those foreign trading partners with which the U.S. had a significant goods trade deficit in 2016. The White House is expected to use that report in further developing its trade policy, though details are as yet unclear.

The U.S. goods trade deficit fell 6.6 percent in February to $65.0 billion. Imports of goods were down up 2.1 percent to $193.4 billion, including decreases of $2.6 billion in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines and $1.9 billion in cell phones and other household goods. Exports of goods were up 0.3 percent to $128.5 billion, including gains of $600 million for pharmaceutical products and $500 million for other goods along with decreases of $600 million each for soybeans and civilian aircraft.

The services surplus rose less than $0.1 billion to $21.4 billion. Imports were down less than $0.1 billion to $43.0 billion and exports were up less than $0.1 billion to $64.4 billion.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$31.7 billion

+5.0

   

European Union

$12.0 billion

-10.4

   

Mexico

$6.2 billion

+12.7

Germany

$5.2 billion

-5.3

   

Japan

$4.9 billion

-10.9

   

Canada

$2.4 billion

+20.0

   

Italy

$2.1 billion

-12.5

   

South Korea

$1.9 billion

+17.4

   

India

$1.8 billion

-5.3

   

France

$1.3 billion

-18.9

   

Saudi Arabia

$1.2 billion

+33.3

   

Taiwan

$1.1 billion

+22.2

   

Hong Kong

   

$3.3 billion

-5.7

South/Central America

   

$2.0 billion

-35.5

Singapore

   

$1.1 billion

-8.3

Brazil

   

$0.5 billion

-28.6

United Kingdom

$0.2 billion

Shift from $0.9 billion deficit

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