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Trade Deficit Plummets as Exports Hit Record High, Imports Tumble

Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade statistics released Aug. 6 by the Department of Commerce show that the monthly U.S. trade deficit plunged 22.4% to $34.2 billion in June, the lowest total since October 2009. Monthly exports rose 2.2% to a record $191.2 billion while imports fell 2.5% to $225.4 billion. Compared to a year earlier, the June trade deficit was down $8.2 billion as exports rose 3.2% and imports declined 1.0%.

Press sources indicate that oil imports continued to decline in June, falling to their lowest level in more than two years and yielding the lowest deficit in that sector in nearly four years. Imports of industrial supplies and materials were down as well, while exports of capital goods were the highest on record.

The monthly deficit in goods trade dropped 15.2% in June to $53.2 billion. Exports of goods climbed 3.1% to $134.3 billion while imports lost 3.0% to $187.4 billion. The services surplus edged up to $18.9 billion as exports rose $0.1 billion to $56.9 billion and imports were virtually unchanged at $38.0 billion.

The bilateral trade deficit with China fell 4.7% to $26.6 billion after two straight months of significant gains. The U.S. also saw smaller deficits with the European Union (down 34.2% to $7.1 billion), Germany (down 15.5% to $4.9 billion), Mexico (down 9.4% to $4.8 billion), Korea (down 36% to $1.6 billion), Canada (down 15.8% to $1.6 billion), Ireland (down 39.1% to $1.4 billion), Venezuela (down 20% to $1.2 billion) and India (down 56.5% to $1.0 billion). Deficits expanded with Japan (up 1.9% to $5.5 billion) and Saudi Arabia (up 11.1% to $3.0 billion).

The U.S. continued to run surpluses with several trade partners, including Hong Kong (up 13.3% to $3.4 billion), Australia (up 21.4% to $1.7 billion), Singapore (unchanged at $1.2 billion) and Brazil (up 77.8% to $1.6 billion).

The Export-Import Bank of the U.S. notes that over the last 12 months, major export markets (those with at least $6 billion in annual imports of U.S. goods) with the largest annualized increase in U.S. goods purchases compared to 2009 were Panama (28.6%), the United Arab Emirates (23.1%), Russia (22.6%), Peru (21.9%), Chile (21.4%), Colombia (19.5%), Hong Kong (19.2%), Argentina (18.5%), South Africa (18.3%) and Venezuela (18.1%).

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