Friday, February 10, 2012

Trade Deficit increased in December to $48.8 Billion

by Bill McBride on 2/10/2012 08:50:00 AM

The Department of Commerce reports:

[T]otal December exports of $178.8 billion and imports of $227.6 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $48.8 billion, up from $47.1 billion in November, revised. December exports were $1.2 billion more than November exports of $177.5 billion. December imports were $3.0 billion more than November imports of $224.6 billion.
The trade deficit was slightly above the consensus forecast of $48.5 billion.

The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through November 2011.

U.S. Trade Exports Imports Click on graph for larger image.

Both exports and imports increased in December. Imports stalled in the middle of 2011, but increased towards the end of the year (seasonally adjusted). Exports are well above the pre-recession peak and up 9% compared to December 2010; imports are up about 11% compared to December 2010.

The second graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum, through December.

U.S. Trade Deficit 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.

Oil averaged $104.13 per barrel in December. The trade deficit with China declined to $23 billion, but hit an annual record in 2011.

Exports to eurozone countries increased slightly in December after declining sharply in November.