Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Trade Deficit Decreased in November to $42.4 Billion

by Bill McBride on 1/06/2016 08:40:00 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 $42.4 billion in November, down $2.2 billion from $44.6 billion in October, revised. November exports were $182.2 billion, $1.6 billion less than October exports. November imports were $224.6 billion, $3.8 billion less than October imports.
The trade deficit was smaller than the consensus forecast of $44.4 billion.

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

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

Imports and exports decreased in November.

Exports are 10% above the pre-recession peak and down 7% compared to November 2014; imports are 3% below the pre-recession peak, and down 5% compared to November 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 last year were due to West Coast port slowdown).

Oil imports averaged $39.24 in November, down from $40.12 in October, and down from $82.92 in November 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 $31.3 billion in November, from $30.2 billion in November 2014. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit.