Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trade Deficit Declines Sharply

by Bill McBride on 1/13/2009 08:45:00 AM

Both exports and imports are declining, but the decline in the trade deficit was mostly about oil prices. Petroleum import prices fell from $92 per barrel in October to under $67 per barrel in November - and will fall further in December.

The Census Bureau reports:

[T]otal November exports of $142.8 billion and imports of $183.2 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $40.4 billion, down from $56.7 billion in October, revised. November exports were $8.7 billion less than October exports of $151.5 billion. November imports were $25.0 billion less than October imports of $208.2 billion.
U.S. Trade Deficit Click on table for larger image in new window.

This graph from the Census Bureau shows that both imports and exports are declining.

Although the trade deficit is declining - and will probably decline further in December because of the continued decline in oil prices - growth in export related businesses will probably no longer be a positive for the U.S. economy as the global economy slides into recession too.

U.S. Trade Deficit This graph shows the U.S. trade deficit through November. The blue line is the total deficit, and the black line is the petroleum deficit, and the red line is the trade deficit ex-petroleum products. The current recession is marked on the graph.

The oil deficit declined sharply in November and will decline further in December. But even ex-petroleum, the trade deficit is still declining.

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