Friday, June 03, 2016

Trade Deficit at $37.4 Billion in April

by Bill McBride on 6/03/2016 12:31:00 PM

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 $37.4 billion in April, up $1.9 billion from $35.5 billion in March, revised. April exports were $182.8 billion, $2.6 billion more than March exports. April imports were $220.2 billion, $4.5 billion more than March imports.
The trade deficit was smaller than the consensus forecast of $41.0 billion.

Note: There were major revisions in this report, mostly exports were revised up for the last several years.

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

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

Both imports and exports increased in April.

Exports are 11% above the pre-recession peak and down 5% compared to April 2015; imports are 5% below the pre-recession peak, and down 5% compared to April 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 $29.48 in April, up from $27.68 in March, and down from $46.47 in April 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 decreased to $24.3 billion in April, from $26.8 billion in April 2015.  (Note that there were labor issues last year, and the ships were unloaded in March and April - pushing up imports from China).  The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit.