Friday, March 04, 2016

Trade Deficit Increased in January to $45.7 Billion

by Bill McBride on 3/04/2016 10:06:00 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 $45.7 billion in January, up $1.0 billion from $44.7 billion in December, revised. January exports were $176.5 billion, $3.8 billion less than December exports. January imports were $222.1 billion, $2.8 billion less than December imports.
The trade deficit was larger than the consensus forecast of $43.9 billion.

The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through January 2016.

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

Imports increased and exports decreased in December.

Exports are 6% above the pre-recession peak and down 7% compared to January 2015; imports are 4% below the pre-recession peak, and down 5% compared to January 2015. 

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 $32.06 in January, down from $36.60 in December, and down from $58.96 in January 2015.  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 $28.9 billion in January, from $28.6 billion in January 2015. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit.