Background

Trade statistics released Feb. 7 by the Department of Commerce show that the U.S. trade deficit declined from November to December but was up slightly from 2015 to 2016.

Monthly statistics. The monthly trade deficit in goods and services fell by 3.1 percent in December to $44.3 billion. Exports rose 2.7 percent to $190.7 billion while imports rose 1.6 percent to $235.0 billion.

The goods deficit decreased 1.8 percent to $65.7 billion. Imports of goods were up 1.9 percent to $192.6 billion, including increases of $1.4 billion in passenger cars, $400 million in natural gas, and $400 million in fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. Exports of goods were up 3.9 percent to $126.9 billion, including increases of $1 billion in civilian aircraft, $1 billion in engines for civilian aircraft, $200 million in natural gas, and $200 million in fuel oil.

The services surplus grew 1.4 percent to $21.4 billion. Imports were virtually unchanged at $42.3 billion and exports rose 0.3 percent to $63.8 billion.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$30.2 billion

+6.3

   

European Union

$12.9 billion

-6.5

   

Japan

$6.8 billion

+19.3

   

Germany

$5.2 billion

-1.9

   

Mexico

$4.6 billion

-19.3

   

Italy

$2.8 billion

+27.3

   

India

$2.0 billion

+22.2

   

South Korea

$1.8 billion

-18.2

   

Canada

$1.5 billion

-53.1

   

Taiwan

$1.0 billion

-23.1

   

France

$0.7 billion

-46.2

   

United Kingdom

$0.2 billion

Shift from $0.1 billion surplus

   

Hong Kong

   

$2.1 billion

-16.0

South/Central America

   

$1.0 billion

-58.3

Singapore

   

$0.9 billion

-10.0

Saudi Arabia

   

$0.4 billion

Shift from 0.2 billion deficit

Brazil

   

$0.2 billion

-75

Annual statistics. For all of 2016 the U.S. trade deficit was up 0.4 percent to $502.3 billion. Exports fell 2.3 percent to $2.21 trillion and imports declined 1.8 percent to $2.71 trillion.

The goods deficit declined 1.6 percent to $750.1 billion. Exports fell 3.3 percent to $1.46 trillion, including decreases of $6.5 billion in fuel oil, $3.8 billion in organic chemicals, $3.7 billion in drilling and oilfield equipment, $3.0 billion in other industrial machines, and $2.9 billion in other petroleum products. Imports dropped 2.8 percent to $2.21 trillion, including declines of $24.5 billion in crude oil, $10.5 billion in consumer goods, $4.8 billion in drilling and oilfield equipment, and $4.4 billion in civilian aircraft.

The services surplus fell 5.3 percent to $247.8 billion. Exports slipped 0.2 percent to $749.6 billion and imports rose 2.5 percent to $501.8 billion.

The deficit was 2.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2016, down from 2.8 percent in 2015.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$347.0 billion

-5.1

   

European Union

$146.3 billion

-4.6

   

Japan

$68.9 billion

+0.4

   

Germany

$64.9 billion

-12.5

   

Mexico

$63.2 billion

+8.2

   

Ireland

$34.9 billion

n/a

   

Italy

$28.5 billion

_+2.5

   

South Korea

$27.7 billion

-2.1

   

Malaysia

$24.8 billion

+15.3

   

India

$24.3 billion

+9.1

   

Thailand

$18.9 billion

+9.2

   

France

$15.8 billion

-10.2

   

Switzerland

$13.7 billion

n/a

   

Taiwan

$13.3 billion

-10.1

   

Indonesia

$13.2 billion

n/a

   

Canada

$11.2 billion

-24.8

   

South & Central America

   

$28.8 billion

-23.0

Hong Kong

   

$27.5 billion

-9.8

Netherlands

   

$24.2 billion

n/a

Belgium

   

$15.3 billion

n/a

Australia

   

$12.7 billion

-10.6

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