US Trade Deficit at 1-1/2-Year Low in September

The US goods and services deficit decreased 9.9 percent mom to $36.44 billion in September of 2016, slightly lower than market expectations of a $37.8 billion gap. It was the lowest trade gap since February 2015, as imports fell by 1.3 percent to $225.6 billion to the lowest level since May while exports rose 0.5 percent mom to $189.2 billion to the highest since July of 2015.

The September decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $2.6 billion to $57.5 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $1.4 billion to $21.1 billion.

Total exports increased 0.6 percent to $189.19 billion, compared to a 1 percent jump in August. Exports of goods went up $0.6 billion to $126.1 billion, boosted by industrial supplies and materials (+1.5 percent, the highest since August 2015). Consumer goods went up $0.7 billion to the highest level in a year, as artwork, antiques, stamps, and other collectibles increased $1.0 billion while food, feeds, and beverages decreased $1.7 billion, with soybeans falling $2.0 billion. Sales of capital goods went up $1.6 billion and civilian aircraft rose $1.4 billion. Exports of services increased $0.4 billion to $66.1 billion: travel (for all purposes including education) increased $0.4 billion.

Shipments rose 6 percent to European Union, with those to the United Kingdom soaring 12.4 percent. Exports to China increased 1.8 percent.

Total imports fell 1.3 percent to $225.6 billion, compared to a 1.2 percent growth in August. Purchases of goods decreased $2 billion to $183.7 billion, led by
capital goods (-$1.7 billion); civilian aircraft (-$0.8 billion); consumer goods (-$0.8 billion); pharmaceutical preparations (-$0.7 billion). In contrast, imports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines increased $1.2 billion, with passenger cars rising $1.1 billion. Imports of services decreased $1 billion to $42.0 billion: charges for the use of intellectual property fell $1.2 billion.

Imports from China fell 2.8 percent.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $9.2 billion, or 2.5 percent, from the same period in 2015. Exports decreased $60.5 billion or 3.5 percent. Imports decreased $69.7 billion or 3.3 percent.

US Trade Deficit at 1-1/2-Year Low in September

BEA | Yekaterina Guchshina |
11/4/2016 12:59:33 PM