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International Trade: Widening Trend As Imports Rose in October
December 5, 2017
Bottom Line: The trade deficit widened modestly more than expected in October with exports steady and imports increasing. The October level for real trade balance for goods is moderately above its Q3 levels, suggesting 4th Quarter GDP started with a modest negative contribution from trade. On a trend basis the trade deficit had been steady from for 3 years but has now started to widen again in the last year.
The International Trade Deficit WIDENED by $3.8 billion to $48.7 billion in October, compared with market expectations for an decline to a $47.5 billion deficit.
For the first 10 months of the year, the trade deficit has averaged $46.3 billion, moderately above from the average of $41.4 billion for the same period in 2016.
Exports were UNCHANGED at $195.9 billion after an increase of 1.1% in the prior month. The declines in food, feed, and beverages and capital goods were partially offset by increases in industrial supplies and materials and . Export growth is now 5.6% ABOVE their year ago level.
Imports ROSE 1.6% to $244.6 billion after an increase of 1.2% in the prior month. The declines in capital goods and were more than offset by increases in industrial supplies and materials and other goods. In October, oil imports increased. 2017 year-to-date oil import levels are now moderately below the 2016 year-to-date levels. Imports are now 7.0% ABOVE their year ago level.