Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Thursday: Trade Deficit, Unemployment Claims

by Bill McBride on 2/04/2015 08:46:00 PM

The West Coast port slowdown is ongoing and will have an impact on the December trade report. From Reuters: Contract negotiators for U.S. West Coast ports hit snag

Shipping companies and terminal operators for 29 U.S. West Coast ports appeared to have hit a snag on Wednesday in protracted labor negotiations with the dockworkers' union, calling a news conference to publicly address the status of the talks.

The negotiations, joined in recent weeks by a federal mediator, have coincided with chronic cargo backups hampering freight traffic through waterfronts handling nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia.
...
The congestion has been most pronounced at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest shipping hubs. During the past two days, port authorities there reported more than 20 freighters left idled at anchor, waiting for berths to open.
Also falling oil prices will have an impact on the trade deficit. Oil imports averaged $82.95 per barrel in November, and will probably be close to $70 in December (and fall further in January).

Thursday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, the initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for claims to increase to 290 thousand from 265 thousand.

• Also at 8:30 AM, the Trade Balance report for December from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for the U.S. trade deficit to be at $38.0 billion in December from $39.0 billion in November.