Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trade Deficit Increases

by Bill McBride on 6/10/2008 09:13:00 AM

From the WSJ: Oil Prices Push Trade Gap Wider

The U.S. deficit in international trade of goods and services increased by 7.8% to $60.90 billion from March's revised $56.49 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
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The U.S. bill for crude oil imports in April increased. It totaled $29.34 billion, up from $25.03 billion in March. The average price per barrel increased by $6.96 to a record $96.81 from $89.85.
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The U.S. paid $38.19 billion for all types of energy-related imports, up from $33.15 billion in March.
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The U.S. trade deficit with China expanded to $20.24 billion from March's $16.08 billion.
The average price per barrel of oil was $96.81 in April - and the current world spot price is around $136 per barrel - so oil import prices will increase over the next few months.

The following graph shows import prices vs. U.S. spot prices (shifted one month into the future).

Shanghai Cliff Diving Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Since import prices lag spot prices by about one month, import prices will probably jump to around $102 per barrel for May - and $116 per barrel in June (based on May spot prices).

Any progress on reducing the trade deficit, due to the weak dollar, is now being offset by rising oil prices.