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December 2013 :: International Markets and Foreign Exchange
- In October, the US trade deficit contracted by $2.3 billion to $40.6 billion after increasing by $4.0 billion in September. October’s trade deficit came in slightly above the consensus forecast of $40.0 billion. Both imports and exports were up for the month, with exports climbing 1.8 percent and imports increasing 0.4 percent. October marks the first monthly increase in exports since the second quarter of 2013. On a year-over-year basis, imports jumped 3.6 percent, posting the largest yearly increase since April 2012. Exports advanced 5.5 percent, marking the largest yearly increase since June 2012.
Import prices fell −0.7 percent in October after rising 0.1 percent in September. Falling −3.6 percent, petroleum prices drove the change in the overall index. Nonpetroleum prices inched up, posting a 0.1 percent monthly gain and slightly offsetting lower petroleum prices. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −2.0 percent, marking three consecutive months of yearly declines. Petroleum prices fell −4.1 percent year-over-year for the second consecutive month. Nonpetroleum prices fell on a yearly basis as well (−1.3 percent), which marks eight consecutive months of yearly declines and the greatest decrease since the fall of 2009. After a slight upturn in August and September, October’s trade prices show weakness reminiscent of the first half of the year.
Export prices declined −0.5 percent from September to October after rising 0.4 percent last month. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell −2.1 percent, the greatest yearly drop since June 2012.
- In September, the US trade deficit expanded $3.1 billion to $41.8 billion after increasing $0.1 billion in August. September’s trade deficit expanded greater than the consensus forecast of −$39.0 billion. The overall expansion was driven by a 1.2 percent increase in imports and a −0.2 percent decrease in exports. On a year-over-year basis, imports increased 1.0 percent, up from August’s 0.9 percent gain. Exports expanded 1.1 percent on a yearly basis in September after rising 4.0 percent in August. Although import activity picked up after a tepid August, export activity still remains soft, averaging a −0.3 percent monthly decrease over the past three months.
- In August, the US trade deficit expanded slightly, by $0.2 billion to a level of $38.8 billion after expanding $4.1 billion July. The widening was driven by a $0.1 billion expansion in imports and unchanged exports. On a year-over-year basis, imports increased 0.9 percent after posting 0.5 percent yearly gains in July. Exports expanded 3.9 percent on a yearly basis and increased 3.2 percent in June. Import activity did not extend last month’s strength, coming in slightly softer. Export activity in August was less tepid than previous months and shows strength relative to the same period last year.
Import prices increased 0.2 percent after rising at the same pace in August, which was unchanged prior to revisions. Petroleum prices, up 0.8 percent, drove the change in the overall index while nonpetroleum prices remained unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −1.0 percent, marking the second month of yearly declines. At −0.4 percent, petroleum prices fell on a year-over-year basis for the first time since May of this year. Nonpetroleum prices dropped −1.0 percent in September, the seventh consecutive month of yearly declines.
Export prices ticked up 0.3 percent from August to September after posting monthly declines the past six months. On a year-over-year basis, export prices fell −1.6 percent after falling −1.1 percent in August.
Import prices remained unchanged in August after ticking up 0.1 percent in July. Petroleum prices rose 0.8 percent while nonpetroleum prices fell −0.2 percent. August marks the fourth consecutive month of nonpetroleum price declines. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell −0.4 percent after rising 0.9 percent in July. On a yearly basis, import prices fell in eight of the past ten months. Petroleum prices rose 1.9 percent, relative to last year after increasing 7.5 percent in July. With continued weakness in nonpetroleum prices and strength in petroleum prices, August’s report is largely similar to July’s.
Export prices fell −0.5 percent in August, marking six months of consecutive declines. On a year-over-year basis, export prices decreased −1.1 percent after rising 0.3 percent in July.
- In June, the US trade deficit contracted $9.9 billion to a level of −$34.2 after expanding $4.0 billion the month prior. Coming in lower than the consensus forecast of -$43.5 billion, June’s −$34.2 billion level is the lowest the trade deficit has measured since October 2009. The contraction in the trade deficit was driven by a 2.2 percent increase in exports and a −2.5 percent drop in imports. June marks the first month since March that export activity grew faster than import activity on a monthly basis. On a year-over-year basis, imports fell 1.0 percent after expanding 0.3 percent in May and contracting 1.4 percent in April. At 3.2 percent, exports continued to post year-over-year gains in June after expanding 1.5 percent in May and 1.8 percent in April.
Import prices fell −0.2 percent in June, marking four months of consecutive declines. Nonpetroleum prices drove the decrease, falling −0.3 percent while petroleum prices increased 0.2 percent after posting declines for two months. Like overall imports, nonpetroleum prices have now decreased for four consecutive months. On a year-over-year basis, import prices increased 0.2 percent, the first yearly increase since April 2012. Petroleum prices increased as well, rising 2.9 percent relative to last year, also the first yearly increase since April 2012. Nonpetroleum prices fell −0.5 on a yearly basis after falling −0.4 percent in May and −0.2 percent in both March and April. Although petroleum prices showed some firming relative to recent reports, weakness in the global economy continues to weigh down nonpetroleum import prices making June?s report similar to those in April, and May.
Export prices fell −0.1 percent in June, marking four months of consecutive declines as well. On a year-over-year basis, export prices advanced 0.8 percent after falling in both May and April.
- In May, the U.S. trade deficit expanded $4.9 billion to a level of −$45.0 billion after expanding $3.0 billion to −$40.1 billion the month prior. May’s expansion comes in above consensus forecasts which had predicted a contraction to −$37.6 billion. Imports increased 1.9 percent while exports fell −0.3 percent leading to the overall expansion. Slower global activity continues to weigh down export activity, which has been slower than import activity on a monthly basis for four out of five months in 2013. On a year-over-year basis, imports grew 0.7 percent after contracting &mius;1.4 percent and −5.1 percent in April and March. Exports posted yearly gains of 1.5 percent after rising 1.8 percent in April and falling −0.7 percent in March.
- In April, the US trade deficit expanded $3.1 billion after contracting a revised $6.7 billion in March ($4.8 billion, previously). The expansion to a level of −$40.3 billion was slightly below the consensus forecast of −$41.0 billion. Both imports (up 2.4 percent) and exports (up 1.2 percent) increased in April after falling in March. On a year-over-year basis, imports declined 1.4 percent in April after falling 5.1 percent in March. After falling −0.7 percent last month, the first yearly decline since November 2009, exports regained strength in April and posted a 1.7 percent year-over-year increase. Overall, April’s report was stronger than March’s where both imports and exports displayed weakness. With contrasting reports in March and April, the impact of trade on second quarter GDP will likely depend upon May’s report.
- In March the U.S. trade deficit contracted $4.8 billion to a level of $38.8 billion ($43.6 billion, previously). The contraction, which was greater than consensus forecasters had predicted, was driven by declines in both imports and exports. Imports fell 2.8 percent to a level of $223.1 billion after increasing 0.3 percent in February and 1.8 percent in January. Exports dropped 0.9 percent to a level of $184.3 billion after increasing 0.9 percent in February and falling −1.2 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, imports declined −5.6 percent marking the largest yearly decline since October 2010. Exports fell −0.2 percent year-over-year, the first yearly decline since November 2009. Despite mixed trade reports in the past several months and the global slowdown, exports had been maintaining strength. March’s contrastingly weak export activity coupled with weak import activity indicates that trade could negatively impact GDP in the first quarter of 2013.
- In February, the U.S. trade deficit contracted by $1.5 billion to a level of $43.0 billion ($44.5 billion, previously). Consensus forecast had predicted a slight expansion to a level of $44.6 billion making February’s contraction unexpected. Imports remained flat at a level of $228.9 billion after increasing 1.8 percent last month. Exports advanced 0.9 percent to a level of $186.0 billion after falling 1.2 percent last month. On a year-over-year basis, imports increased 1.9 percent after falling −0.9 percent in January and −2.0 percent in December. Exports continued to post year-over-year gains, rising 3.2 percent in February. If exports continue to outpace imports, trade could positively impact GDP in the first quarter of 2013.
- In January, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $6.3 billion to a level of $44.4 billion ($38.1 billion previously). After an unexpectedly large contraction in December due to disruptions from Superstorm Sandy, the trade deficit was predicted to expand in January. However, January’s expansion to $44.4 was above consensus forecasts, which had predicted a level of $42.6 billion. Imports expanded by 1.8 percent to a level of $228.9 billion after falling 2.6 percent last month. Exports fell 1.2 percent to a level of $184.4 billion after climbing 2.3 percent last month. The opposite movements of imports and exports lead to the overall expansion of the deficit. On a year-over-year basis, imports fell −0.9 percent after falling 2.0 percent in December 2012 and expanding 2.31 percent in November 2012. Exports continued to post yearly gains marking a 3.27 percent increase and averaging 3.9 percent growth in the past three months.
Import prices increased 0.7 percent in January after falling a revised −0.5 percent in December (−0.1 percent, previously). January’s gain is in line with the 0.7 percent increase predicted by consensus forecasters. Nonpetroleum import prices ticked up 0.1 percent and petroleum prices jumped 2.9 percent, driving the gain in the overall import price index. On a year-over-year basis, import prices fell for the third consecutive month, declining −1.3 percent in January. Nonpetroleum import prices increased 0.2 percent year-over-year after remaining flat in December and November. Despite their monthly jump, petroleum prices continued to decline on a yearly basis marking losses of −5.9 percent. After two months of relative weak reports, January’s import prices convey some strength which is likely due to the firming of the global economy.
Export prices edged up 0.3 percent after declining −0.2 percent and −0.6 percent in December and November, respectively. On a year-over-year basis, export prices advanced 1.1 percent marking the fourth consecutive month of yearly gains.
- In December, the U.S. trade deficit contracted $10.1 billion to a level of $38.5 billion ($48.6 billion, previously). December’s contraction marks the largest monthly narrowing since November 2008 and was $7.5 billion greater than the consensus forecasts which had predicted a narrowing of $2.6 billion. Imports fell 2.7 percent—the largest monthly drop since February 2009—to a level of $224.9 billion, while exports expanded by 2.1 percent billion to a level of $186.4 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2012, imports have been rather volatile, marking a 3.7 percent advance in November and a 2.1 percent contraction in October. These swings are likely attributed to the disruption Superstorm Sandy caused to trade activity. On a year-over-year basis, imports fell −2.0 percent after increasing 2.5 percent in November and falling −0.8 percent in October. Exports continued to post yearly gains marking a 4.9 percent advance in December, which is up from November’s 3.3 percent gain and October’s 1.1 percent gain. The trade deficit’s unexpectedly large contraction in December will likely cause trade to be less of a drag on fourth quarter GDP.
- In November, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $6.7 billion to a level of $48.7 billion. The $6.7 billion widening in November’s trade deficit was largely unexpected since consensus forecasts had predicted a contraction of $0.9 billion. After contracting in October, both imports and exports increased in November. The large fluctuation in imports and exports from October to November was likely driven by adjustments of inventory from hurricane Sandy which had disrupted trade flows in October. Imports rose 3.8 percent to a level of $231.3 billion and posted the largest monthly increase since March 2012. Exports climbed 1.0 percent in December to a level of $182.6 billion. On a year-over-year basis, imports advanced 2.6 percent after posting declines of −0.7 percent the month prior. Exports posted yearly gains of 3.3 percent after averaging 4.6 percent yearly gains throughout 2012. Should the deficit continue to widen in December, trade will likely negatively impact fourth quarter GDP calculations.
- In October, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $2.0 billion to a level of $42.2 billion after increasing $2.3 billion the month prior. After increasing in September, both imports and exports plummeted in October resuming simultaneous declines seen in July and August. October’s report displays the expected weakness from the global slowdown. Imports fell 2.1 percent to a level of $222.8 billion, the largest monthly decline since February 2012. Exports, falling 3.6 percent in October to a level of $180.5 billion, posted the largest monthly drop since January 2009. On a year-over-year basis, imports fell 0.8 percent marking the first decrease since November 2009. Exports posted yearly gains of 1.0 percent after averaging 5.0 percent growth throughout 2012.
- In September, the U.S. trade deficit contracted by $2.3 billion to $41.5 billion, a decrease from August’s downwardly revised $43.8 billion deficit ($44.2 billion, previously). Both imports and exports increased after posting simultaneous declines for the past two month. Given previous weakness in imports and exports and the global slowdown, the consensus forecast had predicted an expansion of the deficit to $45.0 billion. September’s contraction to $41.5 billion, with both imports and exports growing, was largely unexpected. Imports rose 1.5 percent to $228.5 billion, marking the first month-over-month increase since March of this year. Driving the gains were rising petroleum prices (up 4.6 percent) as well as strength in capital goods (up 1.2 percent) and consumer goods (up 6.3 percent). At 3.1 percent, exports posted the highest month-over-month gain for the year as they rose to a level of $187.0 billion. On a year-over-year basis, imports rose 1.5 percent in September, up from August’s 0.9 percent yearly gain. Exports increased 3.5 percent on a yearly basis after rising just 1.7 percent the month prior.
- In August, the U.S. trade deficit expanded $1.8 billion to $44.2 billion, up from July’s upwardly revised $42.5 billion deficit ($42.0, previously). Both imports and exports fell with the former declining a modest 0.1 percent to $225.5 billion and the later falling 1.0 percent to $181.3 billion. August marks the second consecutive month that imports and exports simultaneously fell. Exports also contracted in most major categories with weakness in the global economy likely contributing to their sluggish activity. On a year-over-year basis, imports rose 1.1 percent, up from July’s 0.8 percent yearly gains. Exports increased 1.6 percent year-over-year, a deceleration from July’s 2.7 percent gain and the second quarter average yearly gain of 5.4 percent. August’s $44.2 billion trade deficit was largely in line with consensus forecasts which had predicted a level of $44.0 billion.
- In June, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed $5.1 billion to $42.9 billion, down from May’s downwardly revised $48.0 billion deficit ($48.7 previously). June marks the third consecutive month in which the trade deficit contracted. The narrowing was driven by a 1.5 percent decline in imports, which dropped $3.5 billion to $227.9 ($231.4 billion, previously). The drop in imports was partly influenced by falling import prices, particularly petroleum prices which fell 10.5 percent from May to June. Increasing $1.7 billion to $185.0 billion ($183.3 previously), the 0.9 percent monthly gain in exports also contributed to the improvement of the overall trade balance. On a year over year basis, imports rose 2.2 percent, a deceleration from 3.6 percent and 6.4 percent gains seen in May and April. Exports jumped 7.1 percent year-over-year after averaging a 4.2 percent yearly pace in the first two months of the second quarter. With the trade deficit narrowing much more sharply than the $47.5 billion predicted by consensus forecasts, net exports are in the position to have a more positive impact on second quarter GDP.
- In May, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by $1.9 billion to $48.7 billion, down from April’s upwardly revised $50.6 billion deficit ($50.2 billion, previously). May marks the second consecutive month in which the trade deficit contracted. The narrowing was driven by a 0.7 percent decline in imports which dropped $1.6 billion to $231.8 billion ($233.3 billion, previously). The downward path of imports was partly influenced by falling import prices which declined 1.0 percent in May. Also contributing to the contraction of the overall deficit was a modest 0.2 percent expansion in exports by $0.4 to $183.1 billion ($182.7 billion, previously). On a year-over-year basis, imports rose by 3.8 percent, the smallest year-over-year gain since October 2008. Exports climbed 4.2 percent, up slightly from a 4.0 percent yearly gain in March.
- In April, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by $2.5 billion to −$50.2 billion, down from March’s upwardly revised $52.6 ($51.8, previously). The narrowing was driven by declines in both imports and exports with the former dropping $4.1 billion to $233.0 billion ($237.1 billion, previously) and the later falling $1.5 billion to a level of $182.9 billion ($184.4, previously). April’s decreases come after record jumps in both imports and exports last month. On a year-over-year basis, imports posted gains of 6.3 percent, down from March’s 8.2 percent climb. Exports rose 4.2 percent, also down from a 5.9 percent pace in March. Annual revisions to data from January 2009 to March 2012 were incorporated into this release which showed little alteration to overall trends, but revised down the trade deficit for 2009 and 2010 by 0.6 percent and 1.1 percent.
- In March, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $6.4 billion to −$51.8 billion, up from February’s downwardly revised −$45.4 billion deficit (−$46.0, previously). After narrowing last month by $7.1 billion, March’s deficit reversed course and came in wider than consensus forecasts (−$50.0 billion) to mark the largest expansion since May of last year. The widening was driven by an all-time record $11.7 billion jump in imports to a level of $238.6 billion as they recovered from last month’s $6.3 billion decline. Like imports, exports demonstrated strength, increasing by $5.3 billion to a record high of $186.8 billion. With imports growing faster than exports in March, the positive contribution of trade to first quarter GDP may be more muted in the second estimate as March’s numbers will likely counteract February’s. On a year-over-year basis, imports posted gains of 8.4 percent, up from February’s 7.5 percent, but down from the double digit pace seen throughout 2011 and 2010. Exports rose 7.3 percent, decelerating from February’s 9.5 percent yearly gain.
- In February, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by $6.4 to −$46.0 billion, down from January’s revised −$52.4 deficit (−$52.6 billion, previously). February marks the largest decline in the trade deficit since November 2009. Consensus forecasts had predicted a slight narrowing to −$50.0 billion, but a sharp drop in imports by −$6.3 billion to a level of $227.2 billion—the largest drop since January 2009—led to a greater than anticipated decline in the overall deficit. Although exports posted modest gains of $0.2 billion to total $18.1 billion, the increase did little to offset the decrease in imports. The smaller trade deficit could result in trade positively impacting first quarter GDP rather than negatively impacting as was previously expected. On a year-over-year basis, imports posted gains of 7.6 percent, down from January’s 8.4 percent advance and the double digit pace seen during 2011 and 2010. Exports climbed 9.3 percent on a yearly basis, up from January’s 7.8 percent gain. Like imports, exports posted yearly growth rates in the double digits for most of 2011 and 2010.
- In January, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $2.2 billion to −$52.6 billion, up from December’s revised −$50.4 billion (−$48.8 billion, previously). January’s −$52.6 billion deficit came in higher than consensus forecasts, which predicted a −$49.0 billion deficit. Additionally, January’s deficit is the largest level since October 2008. Both imports and exports saw major gains, with imports jumping $4.7 billion to a record high of $233.4 billion and exports adding $2.6 billion to total $180.8 billion. Although the increase in trade activity is a positive sign for U.S. consumption and production, if import growth continues to outpace export growth in the coming months, the trade deficit could then negatively impact GDP in the first quarter of 2012. On a year-over-year basis, imports grew by 8.3 percent, a deceleration from double digits gains seen throughout all of 2010 and 2011. Exports advanced 7.7 percent, down remarkably from the fourth quarter average of 10.4 percent yearly gains.
- In December, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $1.7 billion to −$48.8 billion, up from November’s revised −$47.1 billion (−$47.8 billion, previously). December’s −$48.8 billion marks the largest deficit since June 2011. Both imports and exports increased for the month of December with imports climbing $3.0 billion to $227.6 billion ($224.6 billion, previously) and exports ticking up $1.2 billion to $178.8 billion ($177.5 billion, previously). Reversing the fourth quarter trend of export contraction, December’s uptick in exports reduces the likelihood of trade negatively impacting GDP calculations in the coming quarter. Exports, however, will need to maintain growth in the coming months in order for trade to positively impact GDP. On a year-over-year basis, imports continue to post double-digit gains, increasing 11.3 percent. December’s pace is nonetheless down slightly from November’s 12.7 percent yearly gain. Exports grew 9 percent on yearly basis, also a slight deceleration from November’s 10.3 percent year-over-year growth. For 2011, the trade deficit widened a total of $58.0 billion to −$558 billion, expanding from 2010’s −$500 billion deficit.
- In November, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $4.5 billion to −$47.8 billion, up from October’s revised $43.3 billion (−$43.5 billion previously). November’s widening is larger than consensus forecasts, which had predicted November’s deficit to be −$45 billion. The goods deficit widened by $4.6 billion while the surplus on services increased by a modest $0.1 billion, hardly offsetting the rapid expansion of the good deficit which in turn drove the expansion of the overall trade deficit. The combination of imports of goods jumping $3.1 billion and exports of goods falling $1.5 billion contributed to the widening of the goods deficit. Strong imports of goods also drove the overall level of imports, which increased by $3 billion to $225.6 in November after declining for four of the past five months. Exports of goods were also a driver of overall exports, which declined for the second consecutive month falling by $1.6 billion to $117.8 billion. On a year-over-year basis, imports continue to post double-digit gains, increasing 12.7 percent, up from October’s 11.9 percent yearly pace. Despite decreasing from October to November, exports posted 10.3 percent yearly gains. The year-over-year increase is a deceleration from October’s 12.3 percent yearly pace and an even further decline from September’s 16.1 percent gain. If exports continue to slow in the coming months, they then have the potential to negatively impact GDP calculations.
U.S. import prices edged up 0.7 percent in November after falling 0.5 percent in October. November thus marks the first increase since July of this year. The gain was mainly driven by a 3.6 percent jump in petroleum import prices (−1.1 percent previously) which also increased for the first time since July. Partially offsetting rising petroleum prices, non-petroleum import prices fell 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month. On a year-over-year basis, import prices were up 9.9 percent, decelerating from October’s 10.9 percent yearly gain. Non-petroleum import prices were also up on a yearly basis with gains of 3.7 percent and slowed as well compared to October’s 4.9 percent year-over-year gains.
U.S. export prices increased 0.1 percent in November after falling 2.1 percent in October. Agricultural and food prices posted gains of 1.5 percent while nonagricultural prices marked losses of 0.1 percent. Year-over-year export prices posted gains of 4.7, but decelerated from October’s 6.3 percent pace.
- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October by $0.7 billion to −$43.5 billion, down from September’s upwardly revised −$44.2 billion (previously −$43.1 billion). For the first time since June, imports and exports both fell in the same month. Imports declined by $2.2 billion to $222.6 billion, marking the fourth decrease in the past five months. Declining for the first time in four months, exports slid $1.4 billion to $179.2 billion. October’s 1.0 percent drop in imports was driven by decreases in industrial supplies (down 3.1 percent) and automotive vehicles and parts (down 2.8 percent). Partially offsetting the pronounced declines were large gains in food and beverages (up 3.7 percent), capital goods (up 3.0 percent) and consumer goods (up 1.1 percent). On a year-over-year basis imports continue to post double-digit gains, coming in at 11.9 percent (previously 12.6 percent). Large movements drove the decline in exports with automotive vehicles dropping 0.5 percent and consumer goods falling 3.2 percent. Jumps in the categories of food and beverages (up 5.5 percent), industrial supplies (up 1.7 percent), and capital goods (up 1.1) helped offset the large declines. Although October’s exports posted double-digit gains of 12.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, they declined from September’s yearly pace of 16.1 percent.
U.S. import prices fell 0.6 percent in October, following no change in September (0.3 percent, before revisions). October marks the second decline of import prices in the past three months. Drops in both non-oil import prices (down 0.4 percent) and petroleum import prices (down 1.0 percent) contributed to the overall decline. Although petroleum prices fell for the third consecutive month, they continue to gain year-over-year posting gains of 36 percent. Non-oil import prices continued to post year-over-year gains of 4.8 percent despite falling from September to October. Most major categories posted price decreases except for consumer goods and automotive vehicles. On a year-over year basis, import prices posted gains of 11 percent, sliding from September’s 12.9 percent gain.
U.S. export prices fell by 2.1 percent after posting a 0.4 percent advance in September. A drop of 6.5 percent in agricultural export prices lead the decline with nonagricultural export prices falling as well by 1.5 percent. Year-over-year, export prices continued to post gains of 6.3 percent, but declined compared to September’s 9.4 percent advance.
- The U.S. trade deficit in September narrowed by $1.8 billion to −$43.2 billion, down from August’s revised −$44.9 billion (−$45.6 billion previously). Imports increased by $0.7 billion to $223.5 billion in September, marking the first time in three months imports posted gains. Exports increased by $2.5 billion to $180.4 billion, rising for the third consecutive month. Exports outpacing imports lead to the decline in the overall deficit which is now at its narrowest level since December 2010. September’s 0.3 percent increase in imports was driven by gains in food, industrial supplies, and automobile categories. The gains were offset by declines in capital and consumer goods. Year-over-year, imports rose 11.9 percent in September. The 1.4 percent jump in exports was lead by broad based gains across most major categories. Exports continued to post double digit gains on a yearly basis rising 15.9 percent.
U.S. import prices posted 0.3 percent gains in September, up from August’s revised 0.2 percent decline (0.4 percent, previously). On a year-over-year basis, import prices rose 13.4 percent despite month-to-month declines in two of the past four months. The main driver behind September’s uptick was a 0.3 percent increase in petroleum prices, which marked the first increase in three months. On a yearly basis, petroleum prices posted a 45.9 percent advance, up from August’s 43.6 percent gain. Non-oil import prices, up 0.2 percent, increased for the third consecutive month. Rising nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices (up 0.7 percent) were a major contributor to non-oil import gains along with foods, feeds and beverages (up 0.5 percent). Compared to a year ago, non-oil import prices advanced 5.5 percent.
U.S. export prices edged up 0.4 percent in September, extending August’s 0.5 percent increase. Higher prices for both agricultural exports (up 1.6 percent) and non-agricultural exports (up 0.3 percent) contributed to the monthly advance. Year-over-year, export prices rose 9.5 percent in September similar to last month’s 9.6 percent yearly gain.
- The U.S. trade deficit in August was unchanged from July’s revised $45.6 billion ($44.8 billion previously). Imports inched down $0.1 billion to $223.2 billion ($223.3 previously) and exports fell by $0.1 billion as well to $177.6 billion ($177.7 billion, previously). The symmetric $0.1 billion decrease in both categories resulted in no change in the overall trade deficit. Third quarter trade reflects some flattening of activity in automotive sectors as supply problems in Japan recover. August’s slight decline in imports (down 0.1 percent) was lead by decreases in consumer goods ($0.8 billion), automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.7 billion) and increases in industrial supplies and materials ($0.9 billion). On a year-over-year, imports rose 11.4 percent in August. The decline in exports (down 0.1 percent) was lead by increases in industrial supplies and materials ($0.8 billion), consumer goods ($0.2 billion), foods, feeds and beverages ($0.2 billion) and decreases in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.0 billion) and capital goods ($0.4 billion).Year-over-year exports rose 14.7 percent, continuing to post double digit gains.
In the second quarter of 2011, the current account deficit narrowed by $1.6 billion to end at −$118 billion, down from the first quarter’s revised −$119.6 billion (−$119.3 billion, previously). As a percentage of GDP, the current account deficit fell from 3.2 percent in the first quarter to 3.1 percent in the second quarter, roughly half of its 2005 peak of 6.5 percent. The trade deficit widened $5 billion to −$145 billion, with high oil prices causing imports to expand faster than exports. Although the surplus of services increased by $3 billion to end at $45.3 billion ($42.3 billion, previously), the expansion of the goods deficit to −$190.4 billion from −$182.2 billion drove the overall widening of the trade deficit. Offsetting the widening trade deficit, the surplus on income hit a record high of $61.1 billion ($52.7 billion, previously) and contributed to the narrowing of the overall current account deficit.
U.S. import prices fell by 0.4 percent in August, down from July’s 0.3 percent increase. August marks the second time in the past three months the price index for imports fell. On a year-over-year basis, import prices rose 13 percent compared to July’s 13.8 percent yearly gains. The main driver behind August’s decline was a 2.1 percent drop in petroleum prices. Even though petroleum prices declined in three of the past four months, they continue to rise on a yearly basis posting a 43.5 percent advance. Non-oil import prices increased for the second consecutive month, rising 0.3 percent in August. Drivers of August’s non-oil import price gains include increases in nonfuel industrial supplies and materials (up 0.9 percent), consumer goods (up 0.3 percent) and capital goods (up 0.1 percent). Offsetting the increases were decreases in imported food and beverages (down, 0.8 percent) and unchanged automotive vehicles prices. Compared to a year ago, non-oil import prices advanced 5.5 percent.
U.S. export prices edged up 0.5 percent in August after falling 0.4 percent in July. Gains stemmed from agricultural export prices which increased 2.2 percent after falling 3.9 percent in July. Non-agricultural export prices rose as well by a modest 0.3 percent with increases in industrial supplies and materials (0.6 percent) as a main driver. Year-over-year, export prices posted gains of 9.6 percent.
- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed 13.1 percent to $44.8 billion in June, decreasing $6.8 billion from June’s revised $51.6 (previously $53.1 billion). The decline from June to July was the largest since February 2009, showing a strong start to the third quarter. Exports jumped $6.2 billion to 178.0 billion, posting a new nominal record, while imports fell $0.5 billion to $222.8 billion. July’s 0.2 percent decline in imports stems from decreases in the price adjusted categories of food and beverages (down 4.1 percent) and industrial supplies (down 3.2 percent). Despite the overall import decline, real imports of automobiles jumped 15.5 percent from June to July. Year-over-year, imports rose 13.6 percent, up slightly from June’s 13 percent gain. Exports climbed 3.6 percent after falling last month and were up 15.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Gains were driven by a 11.3 percent surge in real auto exports, as well as strong numbers from price adjusted categories of food and beverages (up 3.2 percent), industrial supplies (up 6.8 percent), and non-auto capital goods (5.4 percent). Exports of capital goods ($42.1 billion) and automotive vehicles, parts and engines ($12.1 billion) posted record levels as well.
- The U.S. trade deficit widened 4.5 percent to $53.1 billion in June, increasing $2.3 billion from May’s revised $50.8 billion ($50.3 billion, previously). Exports (down $4.1 billion to $170.9 billion) fell more than imports (down $1.9 billion to $223.9 billion) causing the overall deficit to widen. June’s 0.8 percent decline in imports stems from decreases across most categories including industrial supplies and materials (down 1.3 percent), capital goods and consumer goods (down 0.4 percent), and automotive vehicles, parts and engines (down 1.2 percent). Food and beverages were the only major category to post gains (up 4.6 percent). Year-over-year, imports rose 13 percent in June, down from May’s 16.2 percent gain. Exports dropped 2.3 percent in June, posting the largest decline since January 2009. Additionally, the decrease in exports for both May and June marked the first back-to-back decline since the recovery began. Although exports fell in June, they were up 12.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. Gains in consumer goods exports (up 4.7 percent) were offset by decreases in food and beverages (down 8.2 percent), industrial supplies and materials (down 4.2 percent), and capital goods (down 3.9 percent).
- The U.S. trade deficit expanded 15.1 percent to $50.2 billion in May, dropping by $6.6 billion from $43.6 billion in April. Imports increased $5.6 billion to $225.1 billion, while exports declined $0.9 billion to $174.9 billion. May’s 2.6 percent climb in imports stems from a 10.3 percent increase in petroleum imports. Both volume and prices ($108.70 per barrel, highest since August 2008) contributed to the increase in petroleum imports which in turn caused a widening of the overall petroleum deficit. The increase in the petroleum deficit accounts for nearly two-thirds of the expansion of the overall trade balance. Increases in auto imports, posting gains of $0.6 billion in May after declining 2.8 billion the previous month, reflect fading disruptions from the Japanese disaster. Year-over year imports rose 15.9 percent. Exports declined 0.6 percent in May, the first drop since February 2011. Although exports fell from April to May, they are up by 15 percent on a year-over-year basis. May’s decline in exports stems from decreases in industrial supplies (down 5 percent) and consumer goods (down 2.8 percent).
In May, U.S. import prices rose a modest 0.2 percent, down from April’s revised 2.1 percent gain. May marks the first month since October 2010 that import prices failed to increase by more than 1 percent. On a year-over-year basis, import prices continued to advance 12.5, marking the highest increase since September 2008. Non-oil import prices rose 0.4 percent, down slightly from April’s 0.6 percent advance. On a year-over-year basis, non-oil prices increased 4.4 percent. The slowing of overall import prices can be attributed to offsetting factors of rising non-oil prices (up 0.4 percent) and declining fuel prices (down 0.2 percent). Although fuel import prices declined on a monthly basis, they were up 42.3 percent year-over-year which contributed to the double digit gains in year-over-year import prices. Rising prices in industrial supplies and materials as well as finished goods offset falling food, feed, and beverage prices, contributing to the slight gains in non-oil import prices for May.
U.S. export prices rose 0.2 percent in May, down from April?s revised 0.9 percent advance. On a year-over-year basis, export prices rose 9 percent, down from April’s 9.6 percent gain. Rising nonagricultural export prices (up 0.5 percent), were offset by falling agricultural export prices (down 2.0 percent) to contribute to May’s moderate gains in overall export prices.
- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed 6.7 percent to $43.7 billion in April, decreasing by $3.1 billion from March’s revised $46.8 (previously $48.2 billion). Imports decreased $1 billion to $219.2 billion while exports continued to expand, posting gains of $2.2 billion to total $175.6 billion. April’s modest 0.4 percent decrease in imports reflects a downturn from March’s robust 4.9 percent gains. On a year-over-year basis, however, imports were up by 15.9 percent. The contraction of imports from March to April can be attributed to decreased volume of petroleum imports (down 11 percent) as well as decreased imports of automotive vehicles (down 13.2 percent). Imports from Japan—another major factor to April’s import decrease—fell by a record $3.0 billion from the previous month. Exports edged up 1.3 percent in April and advanced 18.8 percent from a year ago, continuing to surpass their 2008 peak of $165.7 billion. April’s gains stem from more record setting numbers in both exports of goods ($126.4 billion) and exports of services ($49.1 billion). Other major categories contributing to the advance include increases in exports of industrial supplies (2.7 percent) and capital goods (2.9 percent).
- The U.S. trade deficit widened to $48.2 in March, expanding by $2.8 billion from February’s revised $45.4 billion (previously $45.8 billion). Imports jumped $10.4 billion to $220.8 billion and exports expanded as well, posting gains of $7.7 billion to total $172.7 billion. Imports are quickly approaching their 2008 peak of $232.1 billion while exports surpassed their respective 2008 peak of $165.7 billion. March’s 4.9 percent increase in imports marks robust gains after February’s 1.7 percent decline. On a year-over-year basis, imports rose 16.4 percent. Rising oil prices due to tensions in the Middle East were a major factor contributing to the increase in imports. Additionally, rising imports of automotive vehicles (up 11 percent) contributed to the advance as well. Exports jumped by 4.6 percent on a month-over-month basis, up from February’s 1.4 percent decline. Furthermore, exports marked a 14.9 percent advance from a year ago. The robust growth is broad based with all major categories posting gains for March. Exports of services, particularly transportation services, were a notable contributor increasing by 6 percent.
In April, U.S. import prices rose 2.2 percent. Although April is the seventh consecutive month marking gains greater than 1 percent, 2.2 percent is a decrease from March’s 2.6 percent rise. On a year-over-year basis, import prices advanced 11.2 percent, the highest increase since April 2010. Non-oil import prices rose 0.6 percent showing modest gains from March’s 0.4 percent advance. While gains in non-oil import prices fell from March to April, they were up from a year ago by 4.3 percent. The increase in both import prices and non-oil import prices can be attributed to higher fuel and nonfuel prices. Fuel import prices, a large contributor to overall import prices, jumped 6.7 percent in April and 34.8 percent from a year ago. Advances in nonfuel import prices were driven by 1.7 percent gains in nonfuel industrial supplies and materials as well as increases in finished goods.
U.S. export prices increased 1.1 percent in April, down slightly from March’s gain of 1.5 percent. On a year-over-year basis, export prices rose 9.6 percent, the largest advance since July 2008. With nonfarm export prices increasing 1 percent, April is the fourth consecutive month marking gains of 1 percent or greater.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $45.8 billion in February, falling by $1.2 billion from January’s revised seven-month high of $47 billion. Imports fell by $3.6 billion to $210.9 billion and exports declined as well by $2.4 billion to $165.1 billion. February’s 1.7 percent drop in imports is the first decrease after four months of consecutive gains. The decline in import levels, down from January’s more than two year high, can be attributed to decreased imports of automobiles (down 10.8 percent) and decreased quantities of crude oil. Seasonal effects from the Lunar New Year influenced imports in February leading to a 7.2 percent month-over-month decline in imports from China. Exports hit record numbers for January but dropped by 1.7 percent in February. The decline stems from decreased exports of automobiles (down 9.3 percent) as well as semiconductors and engines. The overall decline in demand for automobiles, affecting both import and export levels, can be attributed to an increase in petroleum prices.
- The nominal trade deficit grew by $6 billion in January to a total of $46.3 billion, the highest level in seven months. Exports rose $4.4 billion to $167.7 billion and imports expanded $10.5 billion to $214.1 billion. The 5.2 percent jump in imports, the most since March 1993, can be attributed to petroleum (4.7 percent) and increased purchases of industrial supplies and consumer goods. The increase in exports, 2.7 percent from last month, stems from increases in industrial supplies and materials as well as automotive vehicles and parts. Since January 2010, U.S. exports have grown 15.9 percent, while imports have risen 19.3 percent. Rising crude oil prices, up 0.4 percent from December, accounted for nearly half of the increase of both imports and exports. In turn, the sharp rise in imports and exports contribute to the widening deficit and reflect the expansion of the U.S. economy.
- The nominal trade deficit grew by $2.27 billion in December to $40.58 billion, and the initially reported decrease of $111 million in November was instead revised to a small $38 million widening. Exports rose $2.8 billion in December to $163 billion (1.8 percent), but imports rose nearly twice that much (by $5.1 billion, or 2.6 percent) to $203.5 billion, resulting in the widened deficit over the month. Both exports and imports are at their highest levels in over two years, indicating continued healing in U.S. economic activity and improvement in global economies as well. Since December 2009, U.S. exports have grown 13.7 percent, while imports have expanded 12.8 percent. Although net exports negatively contributed to gross domestic product growth in each of the first three quarters of 2010, it closed the year by adding 3.4 percentage points to real GDP growth in the fourth quarter.
- The nominal trade deficit in November was little changed, narrowing a minute $111 million after a very substantial $6.2 billion narrowing in October. Currently at $38.3 billion, the deficit is still $3.0 billion wider than it was last November, despite the fact that it has diminished in each of the past three months. November’s narrowing resulted from a 0.8 percent increase in exports, which exceeded a 0.6 percent rise in imports. Exports amounted to $159.6 billion, the highest since August 2008, and are up 14.9 percent on a year-ago basis. Imports came in at $198.0 billion, up 13.6 percent year-over-year. Although international trade activity has improved in the sense that overall U.S. trade volume is at its highest level since October 2008, imports have persistently outpaced exports, and the deficit has put a drag on gross domestic product growth in the past three quarters reported.The deficit subtracted 1.7 percentage points from real GDP growth in the third quarter of 2010, leaving annualized growth at 2.6 percent.
The nominal trade deficit narrowed a substantial $5.9 billion in October, as exports jumped 3.2 percent while imports retreated 0.5 percent. The deficit currently stands at $38.7 billion, down from a revised $44.6 billion in September, and in its best shape since January. Goods exports were responsible for much of October’s narrowing, rising 4.2 percent as services exports inched up 0.9 percent. The increase in goods exports was broad-based but particularly pronounced in industrial supplies, automotive, capital goods, and consumer goods. October’s decline in imports was due to a 0.7 percent drop in goods, as services imports increased 0.6 percent. Over the course of the past 12 months, the trade deficit has widened by $6.4 billion, with exports up 14.9 percent and imports up 15.9 percent.
Import prices jumped 1.3 percent in November, marking a fourth consecutive increase and the largest since November 2009. Petroleum imports rose in excess of 4.0 percent for a second straight month, and nonfuel import prices advanced 0.8 percent. Although growth in import prices has picked up pace recently and prices are up 3.7 percent on a year-over-year basis, the index is still considerably below its July 2008 peak (by roughly 13 percent).
Export prices also took off in November, jumping 1.5 percent and lifting year-over-year growth from 5.8 percent to 6.5 percent. The most notable increases occurred in foods, feeds and beverages, which rose a steep 6.6 percent in November and have climbed nearly 16 percent in just the past six months. Additionally, agricultural exports saw their largest price increase on record, soaring 8.0 percent over the month.
- The nominal trade deficit narrowed by $2.5 billion in September to $44.0 billion, as exports edged up 0.3 percent over the month and imports declined 1.0 percent. At $154.1 billion, exports are in fact at their highest level in two years, with help from a weakening dollar. The August to September rise in exports mainly reflected services, which saw the largest growth in travel, other private services (including business services, insurance, financial services), and passenger fares. The decrease in imports was attributed to goods imports, particularly consumer goods and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines. The U.S. trade deficit shrank with some major trade partners over the month, including Canada, Mexico, China (down 0.7 percent), and the European Union. On a year-over-year basis, exports are up 14.8 percent, and imports are up 17.0 percent.
Import prices rose 0.9 percent (nonannualized) in October following a small 0.1 percent drop in September, and year-over-year growth was little changed, at 3.6 percent. Fuel prices led the overall increase in October, growing 3.0 percent over the month bolstered by petroleum products and crude.
Export prices grew for a third straight month in October, picking up pace from 0.6 percent in September to 0.8 percent growth in October. Export prices have generally ridden upward since March 2009’s cyclical bottom and have risen 5.8 percent since last October. All major components contributed to the overall increase over the month. Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages were up 2.2 percent, industrial supplies and materials increased 1.8 percent, and consumer goods grew 0.9 percent.
- The nominal trade deficit widened by $3.8 billion in August, cancelling out about half of July’s $7.2 billion narrowing. Exports inched up 0.2 percent to $153.9 billion, while imports grew a larger 2.1 percent to $200.2 billion, resulting in an overall trade balance of −$46.3 billion. Though not as deep as June’s recent low (−$49.8 billion), August’s widening is an apparent resumption of the steady trend begun last June. Most of the widening resulted from a large rise in goods imports ($3.9 billion), as the U.S. ran a minuscule surplus in services over the month. The 0.7 percent increase in services exports marked the fourth in-a-row, bringing service exports to $46.2 billion, the highest level on record. On a year-over-year basis, exports are up 18.0 percent and imports are up 24.0 percent.
- The nominal trade deficit narrowed sharply in July, reversing much of June’s record increase. The $7.0 billion narrowing (from $49.8 billion to $42.8 billion) resulted from a 2.1 percent drop in imports and a 1.8 percent rise in exports to $153.3 billion, the highest level in nearly two years. The drop in imports was broad based but led by consumer goods and autos. The boost in exports, meanwhile, was driven by capital goods excluding autos (particularly a $1.4 billion advance in civilian aircraft) as well as industrial supplies. Exports are up 18.3 percent year-over-year, while imports are up 20.5 percent. While the trade deficit improved a great deal in July, it is still higher in than any month since October 2008, with the exception of June.
Import prices increased 0.2 percent (nonannualized) in July. The increase follows consecutive declines of 0.8 and 1.3 percent in May and June and was driven by a 2.1 percent increase in petroleum prices. Nonpetroleum import prices continued to decline in July, falling 0.3 percent. The three-month period ending in July represents the largest three-month decline in the index since February 2009; however, the price index is up 4.1 percent for the twelve-month period ending in July.
Export prices fell for the second month in a row, falling 0.2 percent in July. The decline follows a 0.7 decline in June and marks the first consecutive decline in the index since February and March of 2009. The main factor contributing to the decline was nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials (−0.4 percent). For the twelve-month period ending in July, overall export prices increased 3.9 percent.
- The nominal trade deficit posted its largest monthly increase on record, widening a greater-than-expected $7.9 billion in June to $49.9 billion. The widening occurred as imports jumped 3.0 percent to $200.3 billion and exports receded 1.3 percent to $150.5 billion. Non-oil imports gained 4.7 percent following a 6.1 percent surge in May. The deficit has increased in the majority of reports this past year and now sits at its highest level since October 2008. June’s rise in imports was evident in both goods and services, and was led by consumer goods, automobiles and parts, and capital goods. The drop in exports most notably reflected declines in capital goods, industrial supplies and materials, and foods, feeds, and beverages. The 12-month growth rate in exports dropped from a recent high of 21.1 percent to 17.7 percent, while the 12-month growth rate in imports inched up further to 29.2 percent.
- Import prices fell 1.3 percent (nonannualized) in June, the largest decline since December 2008. The drop follows a 0.6 percent decline in May and was led by a 4.4 percent decline in petroleum prices, as nonpetroleum import prices fell by only 0.5 percent. The 12-month growth rates of import prices and nonpetroleum import prices fell for the first time since July 2009, to 4.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. Export prices fell by 0.2 percent in June, their first decline since February. Main factors contributing to the decline were consumer goods excluding automotives prices (−0.6 percent) and capital goods prices (0.4 percent). The 12-month growth rate of export prices fell to 4.3 percent after four consecutive months of increases.
- The nominal trade deficit unexpectedly widened in May, as an increase in imports outweighed a slightly more modest rise in exports. The $1.9 billion widening, which follows a $0.3 billion widening in April, brings the deficit to an 18-month high of $43.3 billion. Despite a 9.1 percent drop in imports of petroleum, total imports rose 2.9 percent, led by consumer goods, automotive vehicles, and capital goods. While the decrease in net exports will likely lop off a few tenths off of real GDP growth in the second quarter, the sharp increase in non-petroleum imports suggests that domestic spending is continuing to recover. The report also provides tentative evidence that the strengthening of the dollar has not hindered US exports yet, as exports climbed 2.4 percent in May. The 12-month growth rates of imports and exports increased to 29.1 percent and 21.0 percent, respectively.
- Import prices fell 0.6 percent (nonannualized) in May, the largest drop since January 2009, following a 1.1 percent increase in April. After four straight months of sitting above 11 percent, the series’ 12-month growth rate is now at its December 2009 level of 8.6 percent. The decline is largely due to a 5.0 percent drop in petroleum prices, the largest decrease since December 2008, as nonpetroleum import prices rose 0.5 percent for the second month in a row. On a year-over-year basis, nonpetroleum import prices are in positive territory for the fifth straight month, climbing 3.7 percent. Export prices rose 0.7 percent in April, the smallest of three consecutive increases, pulling the 12-month growth rate up to 5.8 percent. The increase was largely due to a 1.9 percent climb in industrial supplies and materials prices.
- The nominal trade deficit widened by $0.2 billion in April following a $0.1 billion narrowing in March, as both imports and exports declined slightly. The deficit is at its highest level since December 2008, though it has inched up only $0.1 billion since February. Exports slipped 0.7 percent, largely driven by a 5.3 percent drop in consumer goods. Imports declined 0.4 percent, led by a 4.4 percent decrease in consumer goods, which was partially offset by a 4.2 percent climb in capital goods. The average price per barrel of crude oil rose by $2.81 to its highest level since October 2008, and the U.S. imported 5,355 million fewer barrels in April than in March. Despite the declines in exports and imports, their 12-month growth rates ticked up slightly, to 23.9 percent and 19.9 percent respectively.
- Import prices rose 0.9 percent (nonannualized) in April, following a 0.5 percent increase in March. The climb is largely due to a 3.3 percent jump in petroleum prices, as nonpetroleum import prices inched up 0.3 percent. Still, the 12-month growth rate of the overall index declined slightly for the third month in a row, from 11.3 percent to 11.1 percent. Nonpetroleum import prices continued to climb on a year-over-year basis after hitting a series low in July 2009, and are up 3.3 percent from last April. Export prices rose 1.2 percent in March, the largest increase since July 2008, pulling the 12-month growth rate up 0.8 percentage point to 5.7 percent. The increase was due to a 1.4 percent rise in the prices of nonagricultural commodities, as agricultural commodities prices fell by 0.7 percent.
- The nominal trade deficit widened for the fourth time in five months in March, though only by a slight $1.0 billion. The deficit now sits at $40.4 billion, its highest level since December 2008. Exports and imports both made strong gains during the month, continuing their upward trends begun in mid-2009. Exports climbed 3.2 percent and were led by industrial supplies and materials and capital goods. Imports rose 3.1 percent, driven by increases in industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles. Both the price and the volume of crude oil purchases increased, as the average price per barrel rose by $1.40 and the U.S. imported 56.2 million more barrels in March than February. The 12-month growth rates of both exports and imports rose to their highest levels since the series began in 1992, leaping 20.4 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively.
- The nominal trade deficit widened by $2.8 billion to $39.7 billion in February, nearly erasing its $3.0 billion narrowing in January. This marks the third widening in four months and brings the deficit to $13.9 billion above its recent low reached last May. Both exports and imports rose modestly in February, though the 1.7 percent increase in imports outweighs the 0.2 percent increase in exports. A 0.5 percent increase in exports of services drove the overall rise in exports, while imports were led by a 2.1 percent increase in industrial supplies and materials and a 3.1 percent jump in consumer goods. Automobile exports climbed 2.3 percent and automobile imports fell 4.7 percent to their lowest level since August. The 12-month growth rate of exports slipped to 14.3 percent, while year-over-year import growth leapt to 20.5 percent from 11.8 percent in January.
- Import prices rose 0.7 percent (nonannualized) in March, following a 0.2 percent decline in February. The series’ 12-month growth rate remained relatively stable for the third straight month, at 11.4 percent. Since its recent low in January 2009, the index has been climbing at a fairly steady pace and now sits at nearly the same level as it did at the start of the recession. A 4.0 percent leap in petroleum prices drove the increase in import prices, as nonpetroleum import prices declined 0.2 percent. Despite the drop, year-over-year growth of nonpetroleum import prices climbed for the eighth month in a row, to 2.8 percent. Export prices rose 0.7 percent for the third time in four months, led by a 1.5 percent increase in industrial supplies and materials. The 12-month growth rate of export prices jumped to 4.6 percent after slipping to 3.2 percent in February.
- Import prices fell 0.3 percent (nonannualized) in February, following a 1.3 percent rise in January, pulling the 12-month growth rate down slightly to 11.2 percent. The series’ first decline in seven months is mainly due to a 2.2 percent drop in petroleum prices, though a 0.8 percent decline in industrial supplies and materials prices also contributed to the drop. Nonpetroleum import prices inched up 0.2 percent, and are up 2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Export prices declined 0.5 percent in January, as agricultural commodities prices fell 3.8 percent to their lowest level since April. The 12-month growth rate of export prices slipped from 3.3 percent to 3.1 percent.
The nominal trade deficit narrowed by $2.6 billion to $37.3 billion in January following two months of widening. Since reaching its recent low of $25.8 billion in May, the deficit has seesawed but has generally been trending upward toward pre-recession levels. Perhaps the most surprising part of the report is the decline of both imports and exports. Imports tumbled for the first time since August, slipping 1.7 percent, led by a 3.0 percent decrease in capital goods and an 8.1 percent drop in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines. Exports fell 0.3 percent after rising for eight straight months, as a 0.7 percent decline in goods outweighed a 0.4 percent rise in services. Still, the 12-month growth rates of both imports and exports are at their highest levels since August 2008, reaching 11.9 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.
- Import prices climbed 1.4 percent (nonannualized) in January, following a 0.2 percent rise in December. The sixth consecutive monthly increase pulled the series’ 12-month growth rate up to 11.5 percent, a far cry from the July’s record low of −19.2 percent. The overall increase is largely due to a 4.8 percent jump in petroleum prices, as nonpetroleum import prices increased only 0.6 percent. The 12-month growth rate of nonpetroleum import prices is positive for the first time since December 2008, at 1.2 percent. Export prices climbed 0.8 percent in January, led by a 1.9 percent rise in industrial supplies and materials prices, bringing the series’ 12-month growth rate up slightly to 3.4 percent.
- The nominal trade deficit widened by $3.8 billion to $40.2 billion in December, following a $3.2 billion widening in November. The deficit is at its highest level in twelve months, though it is still nowhere near its oil-price induced recent high of $64.9 billion reached in July 2008. Exports jumped 3.3 percent in December, the largest increase since March 2007. The increase is the result of a 4.9 percent leap in exports of goods, as exports of services were essentially unchanged. Imports rose 4.8 percent, led by a 10.1 percent jump in industrial supplies and materials. Crude oil purchases soared by 16.9 percent, as the U.S. imported 31,621 more barrels in December than November. The 12-month growth rates of both imports and exports are in positive territory for the first time since November 2008, at 4.6 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.
- Import prices surged ahead in March, rising 39.0 percent (annualized rate), following a 1.9 percent increase in February. Over the past three months, import prices are up 19.2 percent. In addition to a substantial spike in petroleum imports (up 183 percent at an annualized rate), nonpetroleum imports posted their largest increase on record, rising 13.9 percent during the month. Nonpetroleum import prices have shot up 5.4 percent over the last 12 months. Export prices, bolstered by weakness in the dollar, continued their recent upswing, rising 19.2 percent in March after increases of 13.7 percent in February and 15.0 percent in January. Since the beginning of the year, export prices have risen 16.0 percent.
- The nominal trade deficit increased $3.4 billion in February following a $1.1 billion increase in January. Export growth remained strong, increasing 2.0 percent in February to bring the 12-month growth rate in exports up to 20.8 percent, the fastest growth in exports since the series began in 1992. Import growth increased 3.1 percent in February, outpacing even the rapid increase in exports. The major growth on the import side came from consumer goods, automotive goods, and capital goods. Imports of petroleum goods fell 5.4 percent.