Friday, November 04, 2016

Trade Deficit at $36.4 Billion in September

by Bill McBride on 11/04/2016 12:55:00 PM

Earlier 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 $36.4 billion in September, down $4.0 billion from $40.5 billion in August, revised. September exports were $189.2 billion, $1.0 billion more than August exports. September imports were $225.6 billion, $3.0 billion less than August imports.
The trade deficit was larger than the consensus forecast of $38.9 billion (expect a small upward revision to Q3 GDP).

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

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

Imports decreased and exports increased in September.

Exports are 14% above the pre-recession peak and up 1% compared to September 2015; imports are down 1% compared to September 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 $39.02 in September, down from $39.38 in August, and down from $42.72 in September 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 $32.4 billion in September, from $36.3 billion in September 2015. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit, but the deficit with China has been declining.