Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Trade Deficit Increased in February to $47.1 Billion

by Bill McBride on 4/05/2016 08:41:00 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 $47.1 billion in February, up $1.2 billion from $45.9 billion in January, revised. February exports were $178.1 billion, $1.8 billion more than January exports. February imports were $225.1 billion, $3.0 billion more than January imports.
The trade deficit was larger than the consensus forecast of $46.2 billion.

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

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

Imports increased and exports increased in February.

Exports are 7% above the pre-recession peak and down 4% compared to February 2015; imports are 3% below the pre-recession peak, and unchanged compared to February 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 $27.48 in February, down from $32.06 in January, and down from $49.53 in February 2015.  The petroleum deficit has generally been declining and is the major reason the overall deficit has declined a little since early 2012.

The trade deficit with China increased to $28.1 billion in February, from $22.5 billion in February 2015 (there was a port slowdown last year impacting imports). The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit.