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International Trade:Inched Wider to Closer '22

February 7, 2023
Bottom Line:   The US trade deficit widened slightly in December after tightening in November on the back of slower imports. November's reading was enough to keep net trade a net positive for 4th Quarter GDP growth.  Cell phone's drove the rebound in December imports, as passenger car imports also rebounded. One a trend basis, the trade balance continues to move towards modestly lower deficits. Slower US consumer demand and more efficient supply chains should aid the medium-trend as we slowly assess if the anecdotal evidence of long-term "re-onshoring" shows in the data.
The International Trade Deficit WIDENED by $6.4 billion to $67.4 billion in December, compared with market expectations for an increase to a $80.0 billion deficit.
Exports FELL by 0.9% to $250.2 billion after a decline of 1.6% in the prior month. The declines in industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods were partially offset by increases in food, feed, and beverages and motor vehicles and parts.  Export growth is now 7.6% ABOVE their year ago level.
Imports ROSE 1.342% to $317.6 billion after a decline of 6.1% in the prior month. The declines in industrial supplies and materials and capital goods were more offset by increases in consumer goods and motor vehicles and parts.   Imports are now 2.0% ABOVE their year-ago level.
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