Friday, June 08, 2012

Trade Deficit declines in April to $50.1 Billion

by Bill McBride on 6/08/2012 08:30:00 AM

The Department of Commerce reported:

[T]otal April exports of $182.9 billion and imports of $233.0 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $50.1 billion, down from $52.6 billion in March, revised. April exports were $1.5 billion less than March exports of $184.4 billion. April imports were $4.1 billion less than March imports of $237.1 billion.
The trade deficit was above the consensus forecast of $49.3 billion.

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

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

Exports decreased in April. Imports decreased even more. Exports are 11% above the pre-recession peak and up 4% compared to April 2011; imports are 2% above the pre-recession peak, and up about 6% compared to April 2011.

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

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 $109.94 per barrel in April, up from $107.95 in March. Import oil prices will probably start to decline in May. The trade deficit with China increased to $24.6 billion in April, up from $21.6 billion in April 2011. Once again most of the trade deficit is due to oil and China.

Exports to the euro area were $16.3 billion in April, down from $17.1 billion in April 2011, so the euro area recession appears to be a drag on US exports.