US Trade Gap Lowest in 5 Months


The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to USD 49.3 billion in November of 2018 from an upwardly revised USD 55.7 billion in the previous month and compared with market expectations of a USD 54 billion gap. It is the lowest deficit in five months as imports plunged the most since March of 2016 from a record high value reached in the previous month.

Total exports edged down 0.6 percent month-over-month to USD 209.873 billion. Exports of goods decreased USD 1.2 billion to USD 140.3 billion, mainly due to falls in shipments of industrial supplies and materials (USD -1.4 billion), namely other petroleum products (USD -0.6 billion) and nonmonetary gold (USD -0.5 billion); consumer goods (USD -0.9 billion), namely gem diamonds (USD -0.5 billion) and pharmaceutical preparations (USD -0.4 billion). On the other hand, sales rose for capital goods (USD 1.4 billion), namely civilian aircraft (USD 1 billion). Exports of services decreased USD 0.1 billion to USD 69.5 billion as financial services went down USD 0.1 billion.

According to unadjusted data, exports fell to China (-5.1 percent), Canada (-4.7 percent), Mexico (-6.9 percent), the EU (-3.2 percent) and Brazil (-25.2 percent) but rose to Japan (4.2 percent) and OPEC (15.3 percent).

Total imports slumped 2.9 percent to USD 259.186 billion from a record high of USD 266.881 reached in October. Imports of goods decreased USD 7.9 billion to USD 211.9 billion, mainly due to consumer goods (USD -4.3 billion), namely cell phones and other household goods (USD -2.3 billion) and artwork, antiques, stamps, and other collectibles (USD -0.4 billion); industrial supplies and materials (USD -3.4 billion), namely other petroleum products (USD -1.4 billion), fuel oil (USD -0.8 billion) and crude oil (USD -0.7 billion). On the other hand, imports of services increased USD 0.2 billion to USD 47.3 billion: travel (for all purposes including education) went up USD 0.3 billion while insurance services decreased USD 0.1 billion.

According to unadjusted data, imports declined from all main partners: China (-10.9 percent), Canada (-9.1 percent), Mexico (-6.9 percent), the EU (-7.4 percent), Japan (-0.8 percent), Brazil (-24.8 percent) and OPEC (-12.1 percent). 

The goods deficit with China declined to USD 37.9 billion from a record high of USD 43.1 billion in October. The trade gap also narrowed with all remaining main partners: EU (USD 15.1 billion from USD 17.6 billion), Mexico (USD 6.7 billion from USD 7.2 billion), Japan (USD 5.8 billion from USD 6.2 billion), OPEC (USD 0.8 billion from USD 2.5 billion; data now excludes Qatar) and Canada (USD 0.7 billion from USD 2 billion).

Considering the first eleven months of 2018, the goods and services deficit increased USD 51.9 billion, or 10.4 percent, from the same period in 2017. Exports rose USD 157.1 billion or 7.3 percent. Imports went up USD 208.9 billion or 7.9 percent.


US Trade Gap Lowest in 5 Months


BEA | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
2/6/2019 2:17:17 PM