Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Trade Deficit at $44.3 Billion in December

by Bill McBride on 2/07/2017 08:51:00 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 $44.3 billion in December, down $1.5 billion from $45.7 billion in November, revised. December exports were $190.7 billion, $5.0 billion more than November exports. December imports were $235.0 billion, $3.6 billion more than November imports.
...
For 2016, the goods and services deficit increased $1.9 billion, or 0.4 percent, from 2015. Exports decreased $51.7 billion or 2.3 percent. Imports decreased $49.9 billion or 1.8 percent.
The trade deficit was smaller than the consensus forecast.

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

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

Imports and exports increased in December.

Exports are 15% above the pre-recession peak and up 4% compared to December 2015; imports are slightly above the pre-recession peak, and up 5% compared to December 2015. 

It appears trade might is 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 $41.45 in December, up from $40.82 in November, and up from $36.63 in December 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 $27.8 billion in November, from $27.9 billion in December 2015. The deficit with China is a substantial portion of the overall deficit, but the deficit with China has generally been declining.