Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Trade Deficit declines to $43.6 Billion in February

by Bill McBride on 4/04/2017 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 $43.6 billion in February, down $4.6 billion from $48.2 billion in January, revised. February exports were $192.9 billion, $0.4 billion more than January exports. February imports were $236.4 billion, $4.3 billion less than January imports.
The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through February 2017.

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

Imports decreased and exports increased in February.

Exports are 16% above the pre-recession peak and up 7% compared to February 2016; imports are 2% above the pre-recession peak, and up 4% compared to February 2016. 

In general, trade has been picking up.

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 $45.25 in February, up from $43.94 in January, and up from $27.48 in February 2016.  The petroleum deficit has generally been declining and is the major reason the overall deficit has mostly moved sideways since early 2012.

The trade deficit with China decreased to $23.0 billion in February, from $28.1 billion in February 2016. Some of the decrease this year was probably due to the timing of the Chinese New Year.  In general the deficit with China has been declining.