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Trade Deficit Edges Up Amid Stagnant Imports and Exports

Monday, October 28, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Trade statistics released Oct. 24 by the Department of Commerce show that the monthly U.S. trade deficit rose from $38.6 billion to $38.8 billion in August. Monthly exports slipped $0.1 billion to $189.2 billion, but record exports were recorded for automotive vehicles, parts and engines. Total imports were virtually unchanged at $228.0 billion. Compared to a year earlier, the August trade deficit was down $5.2 billion as exports rose 3.9% and imports moved ahead 0.9%.

The monthly deficit in goods trade was up just $0.1 billion in August to $58.2 billion. Exports of goods fell $0.3 billion to $132.4 billion and imports decreased $0.1 billion to $190.7 billion. The services surplus was virtually unchanged at $19.4 billion as exports gained $0.1 billion to a record $56.8 billion and imports grew by $0.2 billion to $37.4 billion.

The bilateral trade deficit with China fell slightly, from $30.1 billion to $29.9 billion. The U.S. also saw smaller deficits with the European Union (down 29.5% to $9.8 billion), Japan (down 5.9% to $6.4 billion), Germany (down 15.6% to $5.4 billion), Canada (down 14.9% to $2.3 billion), Ireland (down 17.4% to $1.9 billion), Korea (down 22.7% to $1.7 billion), India (down 23.8% to $1.6 billion) and Venezuela (down 53.3% to $1.5 billion). Deficits increased with Mexico (up 19.5% to $4.9 billion) and Saudi Arabia (up 9.1% to $3.6 billion).

The August figures show trade surpluses with Hong Kong (up 27.6% to $3.7 billion), Brazil (unchanged at $1.7 billion), Australia (down 6.7% to $1.4 billion) and Singapore (up 83.3% to $1.1 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 increases in U.S. goods purchases compared to 2009 were Panama (28.8%), Russia (22.0%), the United Arab Emirates (21.2%), Peru (20.9%), Hong Kong (20.4%), Chile (20.3%), Colombia (19.3%), Argentina (17.8%), Ecuador (17.6%) and South Africa (17.5%). The Bank also notes that during this period U.S. exports have been growing at an annualized rate of 10.1% when compared to 2009.

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