Friday, February 05, 2016

Trade Deficit Increased in December to $43.4 Billion

by Bill McBride on 2/05/2016 11:58:00 AM

Earlier 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 $43.4 billion in December, up $1.1 billion from $42.2 billion in November, revised. December exports were $181.5 billion, $0.5 billion less than November exports. December imports were $224.9 billion, up $0.6 billion from November.
The trade deficit was slightly larger than the consensus forecast of $43.0 billion.

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

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

Imports increased and exports decreased in December.

Exports are 9% above the pre-recession peak and down 7% compared to December 2014; imports are 3% below the pre-recession peak, and down 7% compared to December 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.

Oil imports averaged $36.60 in December, down from $39.24 in November, and down from $82.92 in December 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 $27.9 billion in December, from $28.1 billion in December 2014. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit.