US Trade Deficit at 3-Month High


The trade gap in the United States widened to USD 41.14 billion in May of 2016 from a USD 37.4 billion deficit in the previous month. Figures came worse than market expectations of a USD 40 billion shortfall as exports shrank 0.2 percent hurt by a stronger dollar and imports rose 1.6 percent due to higher oil prices.

The widening of the goods and services deficit reflects a higher goods gap (up $3.7 billion to $62.2 billion) and a narrow services surplus (down $0.1 billion to $21.1 billion).

Total exports edged down 0.2 percent to $182. 35 billion, following a 1.4 percent rise in the previous month. Exports of goods decreased $0.2 billion to $119.8 billion: capital goods went down $0.8 billion; civilian aircraft decreased $0.4 billion; computer accessories fell $0.3 billion; automotive vehicles, parts, and engines went down $0.3 billion and other parts and accessories dropped $0.3 billion. In contrast, sales of foods, feeds, and beverages increased $0.5 billion. Exports of services decreased $0.1 billion to $62.5 billion in May: travel (for all purposes including education) declined $0.2 billion while financial services rose $0.1 billion.

Sales to the European Union fell 4.2 percent, with those to the UK down 15.6 percent. Exports to Mexico shrank 1.8 percent, China fell 1.7 percent and those to Canada declined 1.5 percent. In contrast, sales to Japan surged 11.5 percent. 

Total imports rose 1.6 percent to $223.5 billion, following a 2 percent surge in April. Imports of goods increased $3.4 billion to $182.1 billion: industrial supplies and materials rose $2.3 billion; nonmonetary gold went up $1.0 billion; crude oil increased $0.7 billion and consumer goods were up $1.3 billion. In contrast, capital goods decreased $0.9 billion and civilian aircraft fell $0.9 billion. Imports of services were nearly unchanged at $41.4 billion in May.

Imports from China rose 13.8 percent, those from Canada went up 2.3 percent and from the European Union purchases grew 1.6 percent. 

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $7.2 billion, or 3.5 percent, from the same period in 2015. Exports decreased $47.2 billion or 4.9 percent and imports fell $54.3 billion or 4.7 percent.


BEA | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
7/6/2016 2:12:37 PM