US Trade Gap Lowest In 5 Months In March

The goods and services deficit in the United States narrowed slightly to USD 43.7 billion in March of 2017 from an upwardly revised USD 43.8 billion gap a month earlier and lower than market expectations of a USD 44.5 billion shortfall. Exports declined for the first time in four months mainly due to lower sales to China and imports fell for the second straight month.

The March decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of USD 0.4 billion to USD 65.5 billion and an increase in the services surplus of USD 0.4 billion to USD 21.8 billion.

Total exports shrank 0.9 percent to USD 190.99 billion, reaching the lowest value in four months.

Exports of goods decreased USD 2.1 billion to USD 126.3 billion: industrial supplies and materials fell USD 1.8 billion; fuel oil decreased USD 0.6 billion; other petroleum products went down USD 0.6 billion; automotive vehicles, parts, and engines declined USD 0.9 billion and passenger cars dropped USD 0.8 billion. In contrast, capital goods increased USD 0.7 billion; civilian aircraft engines went up USD 0.4 billion and telecommunications equipment rose USD 0.4 billion. Exports of services increased USD 0.4 billion to USD 64.7 billion in March: financial services added USD 0.1 billion and maintenance and repair services increased USD 0.1 billion.

Total imports decreased 0.7 percent to USD 234.69 billion, also the lowest value in four months.

Imports of goods went down USD 1.7 billion to USD 191.8 billion, led by capital goods (USD -0.9 billion); civilian aircraft (USD -0.3 billion); computers (USD -0.2 billion); industrial supplies and materials (USD -0.7 billion); crude oil (USD -0.6 billion) and other petroleum products (USD -0.4 billion). In contrast, purchases rose for automotive vehicles, parts, and engines (USD 1.1 billion) and passenger cars (USD 1.1 billion). Imports of services fell less than USD 0.1 billion to USD 42.9 billion in March: transport, which includes freight and port services and passenger fares decreased USD 0.1 billion.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, exports went down 1.8 percent to China but rose to all other main export partners: Canada (17.9 percent), Mexico (15.8 percent), Japan (11.6 percent), the EU (11.7 percent) and OPEC (23.4 percent). Imports rose the most from Japan (32.1 percent), followed by Brazil (19.7 percent), Mexico (17.3 percent), OPEC (15.6 percent), the EU (13.9 percent), Canada (13 percent) and China (4.4 percent).

The US trade deficit narrowed with Canada (USD -1.37 billion from USD -2.13 billion in February) and OPEC (USD -1.4 billion from USD -1.52 billion) but widened with China (USD -24.6 billion from USD -23 billion), the EU (USD -11.2 billion from USD -9.4 billion), Japan (USD -7.2 billion from USD -4.7 billion) and Mexico (USD -7 billion from USD -5.7 billion). 

Considering the first quarter of the year, the average goods and services deficit decreased USD 0.2 billion to USD 45.2 billion: exports went down less than USD 0.1 billion to USD 192.1 billion and imports dropped more by USD 0.2 billion to USD 237.3 billion.

US Trade Gap Lowest In 5 Months In March

BEA | Joana Taborda |
5/4/2017 1:19:58 PM