Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- International Trade
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.