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Record High Trade Deficit

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Trade Deficit Increases 5.6% to Record High in March on Rising Imports of Consumer Goods, MarketWatch666, Commenter RJS Our trade deficit was at another record high in March, 5.6% higher than in February, as both our imports and exports increased, but our imports increased by more. The Commerce Department’s report on our international trade in goods and services for March indicated that our seasonally adjusted goods and services trade deficit rose by .9 billion to .4 billion in March, from a February deficit that was revised from the originally reported record .1 billion to .5 billion. In rounded totals, the value of our March exports rose by .4 billion to 0.0 billion on a .7 billion increase to 2.9 billion in our exports of

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Trade Deficit Increases 5.6% to Record High in March on Rising Imports of Consumer Goods, MarketWatch666, Commenter RJS

Our trade deficit was at another record high in March, 5.6% higher than in February, as both our imports and exports increased, but our imports increased by more. The Commerce Department’s report on our international trade in goods and services for March indicated that our seasonally adjusted goods and services trade deficit rose by $3.9 billion to $74.4 billion in March, from a February deficit that was revised from the originally reported record $71.1 billion to $70.5 billion. In rounded totals, the value of our March exports rose by $12.4 billion to $200.0 billion on a $11.7 billion increase to $142.9 billion in our exports of goods and a $0.8 billion increase to $57.1 billion in our exports of services, while our imports rose by $16.4 billion to $274.5 billion on a $15.3 billion increase to $234.4 billion in our imports of goods and a $1.1 billion increase to $40.0 billion in our imports of services. Export prices averaged 2.1% higher in March, which means the change in our real exports was less than than the nominal increase by that percentage, while import prices were 1.2% higher, meaning that our real imports were likewise smaller than than their nominal value by that percentage…

Our March exports of goods were higher largely due to greater exports of industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, and consumer goods… referencing the Full Release and Tables for March (pdf), in Exhibit 7 we find that our exports of industrial supplies and materials rose by $5,173 million to $51,494 million on a $3,382 million increase in our exports of nonmonetary gold, an $876 million increase in our exports of crude oil, a $571 million increase in our exports of precious metals other than gold, a $494 million increase in our exports of petroleum products other than fuel oil, and a $439 million increase in our exports of natural gas liquids, which were partially offset by a $1,711 million decrease in our exports of natural gas, while our exports of capital goods rose by $2,919 million to $42,014 million, led by a $409 million increase in our exports of semiconductors, a $365 million increase in our exports of electric apparatuses, and a $269 million increase in our exports of medical equipment…in addition, our exports of consumer goods rose by $2.005 million to $17,100 million on a $410 million increase in our exports of artwork, antiques, and other collectibles, a $389 million increase in our exports of gem diamonds and a $339 million increase in our exports of pharmaceuticals…meanwhile, our exports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines rose by $859 million to $12,758 million on a $303 million increase in our exports of passenger cars, and a $281 million increase in our exports of vehicle parts and accessories other than engines, chassis and tires, and our exports of foods, feeds and beverages rose by a net of $63 million to $13,302 million even as our exports of soybeans fell by $574 million as our exports of corn rose by $267 million, while our exports of other goods not categorized by end use rose by $659 million to $5,753 million….

Exhibit 8 in the Full Release and Tables gives us seasonally adjusted details on our goods imports and shows that rising imports of consumer goods, industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines were responsible for most of the increase in March imports…our imports of consumer goods rose by $4,477 million to $65,147 million on a $1,211 million increase in our imports of apparel and textiles other than those of wool or cotton, an $853 million increase in our imports of furniture and related household goods, an $850 million increase in our imports of toys, games and sporting goods, a $799 million increase in our imports of cotton apparel and textiles, a $722 million increase in our imports of footwear, a $549 million increase in our imports of household appliances, a $450 million increase in our imports of non-textile apparel and household goods, a $549 million increase in our imports of cookware, cutlery, and kitchen tools, and a $353 million increase in our imports of camping apparel and gear, which in turn were partially offset by a $1,007 million decrease in our imports of cellphones, a $662 million decrease in our imports of pharmaceuticals, and a $406 million decrease in our imports of artwork, antiques and other collectibles.

Meanwhile, our imports of industrial supplies and materials rose by $3,697 million to $50,281 million on an $803 million increase in our imports of crude oil, a $607 million increase in our imports of fuel oil, a $561 million increase in our imports of petroleum products other than fuel oil, a $396 million increase in our imports of iron and steel mill products, and a $376 million increase of in our imports of organic chemicals, which were partially offset by a $1,279 million decrease in our imports of finished metal shapes and a $646 million decrease in our imports of natural gas, while our imports of capital goods rose by $3,315 million to $63,023 million on a $1,310 million increase in our imports of semiconductors, a $535 million increase in our imports of industrial machines other than those itemized, a $462 million increase in our imports of telecommunications equipment, a $427 million increase in our imports of medical equipment, a $423 million increase in our imports of electric apparatuses, partially offset by a $1,377 million decrease in our imports of civilian aircraft…in addition, our imports of automotive vehicles, parts and engines rose by $2,050 million to $30,234 million on a $982 million increase in our imports of in our imports of passenger cars and $656 million increase in our imports of vehicle parts and accessories other than engines, chassis and tires, while our imports of foods, feeds, and beverages rose by $919 million to $14,036 million led by a $310 million increase in our imports of fish and shellfish, and our imports of other goods not categorized by end use rose by $827 million to $10,305 million….

The press release for this month’s report summarizes Exhibit 19 in the full release pdf for March, which gives us surplus and deficit details on our goods trade with selected countries::

The March figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($3.6), Hong Kong ($2.9), Brazil ($1.0), Singapore ($0.6), and United Kingdom ($0.1). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($36.9), European Union ($16.9), Mexico ($8.4), Germany ($5.5), Japan ($5.1), Canada ($3.1), Italy ($2.9), Taiwan ($2.6), India ($2.2), South Korea ($2.1), France ($1.5), and Saudi Arabia (less than $0.1).

  • The deficit with China increased $6.7 billion to $36.9 billion in March. Exports increased $0.9 billion to $11.3 billion and imports increased $7.6 billion to $48.2 billion.  
  • The deficit with Mexico increased $1.6 billion to $8.4 billion in March. Exports decreased $0.6 billion to $22.2 billion and imports increased $1.0 billion to $30.6 billion.
  • The deficit with the European Union decreased $2.1 billion to $16.9 billion in March. Exports decreased $0.5 billion to $20.1 billion and imports decreased $2.6 billion to $37.0 billion.

In the advance estimate of 1st quarter GDP published last week, our March trade deficit in goods was estimated based on the sketchy Advance Report on our International Trade in Goods, which was released just before the GDP release…that report estimated that our seasonally adjusted March goods trade deficit was at $90,587 million on a Census basis, on goods exports of $142,047 million and goods imports of $232,633 million…this report revises that and shows that our actual Census basis goods trade deficit in March was at $90,604 million, on adjusted goods exports of $142,422 million and adjusted goods imports of $233,026 million…at the same time, the February goods trade deficit was revised from the $87,071 million indicated in that advance report to $86,997 million…combined, those revisions from the previously published figures indicate that the nominal trade in goods deficit used in the first quarter GDP report was $54 million too high, which work out to be a bit over $0.2 billion on an annualized basis, resulting in a small downward revision which would have a negligible impact on 1st quarter GDP.

However, for services, the BEA’s Key source data and assumptions (xls) for the advance estimate of first quarter GDP provides aggregate exports and imports of services at annual rates on an international-transactions-accounts basis, indicating that the BEA assumed a $15 billion increase in exports of services and a $2.5 billion increase in imports of services on that basis…while there is no comparable annualized metric or adjusted data in this report that we could match that to, this release does show that exports of services rose $0.8 billion in March after February exports of services were revised $0.2 billion higher, and that imports of services rose $1.1 billion in March after February imports of services were revised $0.2 billion lower…that suggests that the annual rate for March exports of services used in the GDP report was on the order of $3 billion too high, while the annual rate for March imports of services used in the GDP report was about $8.5 billion too low…revising those annualized figures, and annualizing the services trade revisions for February vis a vis those reported, the annual rate for 1st quarter services exports would be revised about $0.6 billion lower, while the annual rate for 1st quarter services exports would be revised about $2.1 billion higher…the resulting upward revision of $2.7 billion to our total services deficit should be enough to subtract 0.05 or 0.06 percentage points from 1st quarter GDP…

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