Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trade Deficit declined in February to $46 Billion

by Bill McBride on 4/12/2012 09:09:00 AM

The Department of Commerce reported:

[T]otal February exports of $181.2 billion and imports of $227.2 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $46.0 billion, down from $52.5 billion in January, revised. February exports were $0.2 billion more than January exports of $180.9 billion. February imports were $6.3 billion less than January imports of $233.4 billion
The trade deficit was well below the consensus forecast of $51.7 billion.

The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through January 2012.

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

Exports increased slightly in February, while imports decreased sharply. Exports are well above the pre-recession peak and up 9% compared to February 2011; imports are near the pre-recession high and imports are up about 8% compared to February 2011.

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

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 $103.63 per barrel in February, down slightly from January. The decline in imports was a combination of less petroleum imports and less imports from China.

Exports to the European Union were $22.5 billion in February, up from $20.0 billion in February 2011.

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