Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Trade Deficit at $42.6 Billion in October

by Bill McBride on 12/06/2016 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 $42.6 billion in October, up $6.4 billion from $36.2 billion in September, revised. October exports were $186.4 billion, $3.4 billion less than September exports. October imports were $229.0 billion, $3.0 billion more than September imports.
The trade deficit was close to the consensus forecast.

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

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

Imports increased and exports decreased in October.

Exports are 13% above the pre-recession peak and up slightly compared to October 2015; imports are up 1% compared to October 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 $40.01 in October, up from $39.02 in September, and down from $40.12 in October 2015.  The petroleum deficit has generally been declining  (but has increased recently with the decline in oil prices) and is the major reason the overall deficit has declined a little since early 2012.

The trade deficit with China decreased to $31.1 billion in October, from $32.9 billion in October 2015. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit, but the deficit with China has been declining.