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Thursday, April 10, 2008

February Trade Deficit

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2008 10:15:00 AM

The Census Bureau reported a goods and services deficit of $62.3 billion for February 2008. Exports, in February, increased almost $3 billion to $151.3 billion, but imports increased by over $6 billion to $213.7 billion - despite petroleum imports being off slightly in February.

Export growth was still strong, but the rise in imports is very disappointing - especially if the increase in imports was due to rising prices (export and import prices will be released tomorrow). Note: we have to be careful to not read too much into one month's data.

This also suggests Q1 GDP will be weaker than currently expected.

Trade Deficit PetroleumClick on graph for larger image.

The red line is the trade deficit excluding petroleum products. (Blue is the total deficit, and black is the petroleum deficit). The current probably recession is marked on the graph.

The ex-petroleum deficit has been falling fairly rapidly, almost entirely because of weak imports. Hopefully the increase in February was just monthly noise.