Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Trade Deficit declined in April to $40.9 Billion

by Bill McBride on 6/03/2015 08:46:00 AM

The Department of Commerce reported:

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that the goods and services deficit was $40.9 billion in April, down $9.7 billion from $50.6 billion in March, revised. April exports were $189.9 billion, $1.9 billion more than March exports. April imports were $230.8 billion, $7.8 billion less than March imports.
The trade deficit was smaller than the consensus forecast of $43.9 billion.

The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through April 2015.

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

Imports decreased and exports increased in April. Note: Imports surged in March due to the resolution of the West Coast port slowdown and the unloading of waiting ships, so a decrease in imports was expected in April.

Exports are 14% above the pre-recession peak and down 3% compared to April 2014; imports are at the pre-recession peak, and down 3% compared to April 2014. 

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

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 (wild swings over last few months due to port slowdown.

Oil imports averaged $46.52 in April, up slightly from $46.47 in March, and down from $95.00 in April 2014.  The petroleum deficit has generally been declining and is the major reason the overall deficit has declined since early 2012.

The trade deficit with China decreased to $26.5 billion in April, from $27.3 billion in April 2014. The deficit with China is a large portion of the overall deficit.