US Trade Gap at 7-Month Low


The US trade deficit narrowed to USD 46.2 billion in April of 2018 from a downwardly revised USD 47.2 billion in March, below market expectations of a USD 49 billion gap. It is the lowest trade deficit in seven months as exports hit a record high boosted by sales of industrial materials and soybeans. Imports edged down 0.2 percent.

The April drop in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $1.0 billion to $68.3 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of less than $0.1 billion to $22.1 billion.

Total exports edged up 0.3 percent month-over-month to a record high of $211.25 billion, following a 2.2 percent jump in March. Exports of goods increased $0.3 billion to $141.2 billion, boosted by sales of industrial supplies and materials ($1.3 billion); fuel oil ($0.5 billion); other petroleum products ($0.2 billion); foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.7 billion); soybeans increased (0.3 billion); and corn (0.3 billion). On the other hand, shipments fell for capital goods ($-1.4 billion) and civilian aircraft ($-2.8 billion). Exports of services increased $0.3 billion to $70.0 billion cue to other business services, which includes research and development services; professional and management services; and technical, trade-related, and other services ($0.1 billion); financial services ($0.1 billion); and charges for the use of intellectual property ($0.1 billion). 

Total imports declined 0.2 percent month-over-month to $257.44 billion, following a 1.4 percent drop in March. Imports of goods decreased $0.7 billion to $209.5 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of consumer goods ($-2.8 billion); cell phones and other household goods ($-2.2 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($-0.9 billion); and passenger cars ($-1.0 billion). On the other hand, increases were seen for other goods ($1.3 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($1.2 billion); and crude oil ($1.0 billion). Imports of services went up $0.3 billion to $47.9 billion: transport increased $0.1 billion; other business services $0.1 billion; and charges for the use of intellectual property increased $0.1 billion.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, exports went up to Mexico (2.4 percent) and fell for other main partners: Canada (-5.3 percent), China (-17.1 percent), Japan (-10.5 percent), the EU (-10.2 percent), OPEC (-15.5 percent) and Brazil (-5.7 percent). Imports fell from China (-0.1 percent), Canada (-1.2 percent), Mexico (-6.3 percent), Japan (-6.1 percent) and the EU (-1.3 percent) but rose from the OPEC (27.6 percent) and Brazil (5.4 percent). 

The trade deficit worsened with the EU ($-14.6 billion from $-12.15 billion), China ($-27.9 billion from $-25.9 billion) and OPEC ($-3.2 billion from $-0.8 billion) and the trade balance with Canada switched to a $0.8 billion gap from a $0.3 billion surplus. On the other hand, the trade gap improved with Mexico ($-5.6 billion from $-8.1 billion) and Japan ($-6.3 billion from $-6.4 billion). 

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $20.8 billion, or 11.5 percent, from the same period in 2017. Exports increased $62.0 billion or 8.1 percent. Imports increased $82.8 billion or 8.7 percent.

US Trade Gap at 7-Month Low


BEA | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
6/6/2018 1:21:36 PM