Friday, April 05, 2013

Trade Deficit declined in February to $43 Billion

by Bill McBride on 4/05/2013 10:55:00 AM

Note: I'll have more on the employment report soon.

The Department of Commerce reported:

[T]otal February exports of $186.0 billion and imports of $228.9 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $43.0 billion, down from $44.5 billion in January, revised. February exports were $1.6 billion more than January exports of $184.4 billion. February imports were $0.1 billion more than January imports of $228.9 billion.
The trade deficit was below the consensus forecast of $44.8 billion.

The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through January 2013.

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

Exports increased in February, and imports were essentially flat, so the deficit declined.

Exports are 12% above the pre-recession peak and up 3.2% compared to February 2012; imports are slightly below the pre-recession peak, and up 2% compared to February 2012.

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.

The decrease in the trade deficit in February was mostly due to a decrease in the volume of petroleum imports.

Oil averaged $95.96 per barrel in February, up from $94.08 in January, but down from $103.63 in February 2012.

The trade deficit with China increased to $23.4 billion in February, up from $19.4 billion in February 2012. Most of the trade deficit is still due to oil and China.

The trade deficit with the euro area was $8.1 billion in January, up from $5.8 billion in February 2012.  This is another sign of weakness in the euro area.