US Trade Gap at New 9-1/2-Year High


The US trade deficit widened to USD 57.6 billion in February 2018 from an upwardly revised USD 56.7 billion in the previous month and above market expectations of USD 56.9 billion. It is the biggest trade gap since October 2008 as both exports and imports reached a record high.

The February increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $0.3 billion to $77.0 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.6 billion to $19.4 billion. The goods deficit was the highest since July 2008 and the services surplus was the lowest since December 2012.

Total exports rose 1.7 percent to an-all time high of $204.5 billion. Exports of goods increased $3.0 billion to $137.2 billion, mainly boosted by industrial supplies and materials ($2.0 billion); nonmonetary gold ($0.6 billion); crude oil ($0.3 billion); natural gas ($0.3 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.9 billion); passenger cars ($0.7 billion); capital goods ($0.7 billion); civilian aircraft ($0.2 billion); and drilling and oilfield equipment ($0.2 billion). On the other hand, consumer goods decreased $0.8 billion and pharmaceutical preparations went down $0.6 billion. Exports of services rose $0.5 billion to $67.3 billion in February: transport increased $0.2 billion; travel (for all purposes including education) increased $0.1 billion; charges for the use of intellectual property increased $0.1 billion.

Total imports went up 1.7 percent to an all-time high of $262 billion. Imports of goods increased $3.3 billion to $214.2 billion, boosted by capital goods ($1.8 billion); civilian aircraft ($0.5 billion); materials-handling equipment ($0.3 billion); computers ($0.3 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($0.8 billion); crude oil ($0.7 billion); foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.8 billion). Imports of services rose $1.1 billion to $47.8 billion. The largest increase was in charges for the use of intellectual property ($1.0 billion). The increase reflects payments for the rights to broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The largest decrease was in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.2 billion).

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, exports went up to Canada (4.3 percent), the EU (7.4 percent) and OPEC (14.7 percent) but fell to Mexico (-7.2 percent), China (-0.3 percent), Japan (-6 percent) and Brazil (-1.2 percent). Imports rose from Mexico (1.3 percent) and the EU (0.4 percent) but fell from Canada (-9 percent), China (-14.7 percent), Japan (-4.3 percent), Brazil (-28.4 percent) and OPEC (-14.9 percent). 

The trade deficit worsened with Mexico ($-6.1 billion from $-4.2 billion) but improved with China ($-29.3 billion from $-35.9 billion); the EU ($-12 billion from $-13.6 billion); Japan ($-5.5 billion from $-5.6 billion); OPEC ($-1.4 billion from $-2.8 billion) and Canada ($-0.4 billion from $-3.7 billion). 

US Trade Gap at New 9-1/2-Year High


BEA | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
4/5/2018 1:02:40 PM