Tuesday, May 12, 2009

U.S. March Trade Deficit: $27.6 billion

by Calculated Risk on 5/12/2009 08:31:00 AM

The Census Bureau reports:

The ... total March exports of $123.6 billion and imports of $151.2 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $27.6 billion, up from $26.1 billion in February, revised. March exports were $3.0 billion less than February exports of $126.6 billion. March imports were $1.6 billion less than February imports of $152.8 billion.
U.S. Trade Deficit Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through March 2009.

Both imports and exports declined in March, although it appears the cliff diving in trade might be over.

On a year-over-year basis, exports are off 17.4% and imports are off 27%!

The second graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum, through March.

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.

Import oil prices increased slightly to $41.36 in March following eight consecutive monthly declines. Spot prices have increased since March, so it appears the decline in the trade deficit due to lower oil prices is over for now.

The trade deficit is mostly oil and China now, so any further significant decline in the deficit is unlikely in the short term. Although the NY Times reports: Chinese Exports Fall 22.6% in April
Exports from mainland China slumped 22.6 percent in April from a year earlier, official statistics showed — a fall that was not only larger than economists had expected but also bigger than that in March, when overseas shipments declined 17.1 percent.