Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Trade Deficit at $40.7 Billion in August

by Bill McBride on 10/05/2016 08:42:00 AM

From 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 $40.7 billion in August, up $1.2 billion from $39.5 billion in July, revised. August exports were $187.9 billion, $1.5 billion more than July exports. August imports were $228.6 billion, $2.6 billion more than July imports.
The trade deficit was larger than the consensus forecast of $39.0 billion.

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

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

Imports and exports both increased in August.

Exports are 14% above the pre-recession peak and up 1% compared to August 2015; imports are down 1% compared to August 2015. 

It appears trade might be picking up a little.

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 $39.38 in August, down from $41.02 in July, and down from $49.33 in August 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 $33.9 billion in August, from $35.0 billion in August 2015. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit, but the deficit with China has been declining.