Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Trade Deficit decreased in September to $40.8 Billion

by Bill McBride on 11/04/2015 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 was $40.8 billion in September, down $7.2 billion from $48.0 billion in August, revised. September exports were $187.9 billion, $3.0 billion more than August exports. September imports were $228.7 billion, $4.2 billion less than August imports.
The trade deficit was close to the consensus forecast of $41.1 billion.

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

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

Imports decreased and exports increased in September.

Exports are 13% above the pre-recession peak and down 4% compared to September 2014; imports are 1% below the pre-recession peak, and down 4% compared to September 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 earlier this year were due to West Coast port slowdown).

Oil imports averaged $42.72 in September, down from $49.33 in August, and down from $92.52 in September 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 increased to $36.3 billion in September, from $35.6 billion in August 2014. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit.