Trade Deficit Decreased in January
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that U.S. monthly international trade deficit decreased to $51.1 billion in January, from $59.9 billion in December, as exports increased and imports decreased. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap narrowing to $57.0 billion in January. The trade deficit with China, the U.S.’s largest trading partner in 2018, narrowed to $34.5 billion in January, the narrowest since June.
The January decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $8.2 billion to $73.3 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.5 billion to $22.1 billion. January exports were $207.3 billion, $1.9 billion more than December exports. January imports were $258.5 billion, $6.8 billion less than December imports. The US exports to China decreased by $200 million, to $7.5 billion, and Chinese imports to US fell $5.7 billion, to $40.8 billion. The reduced gap with China was the leading force behind a nearly 15 percent improvement in the overall U.S. trade deficit to $51.1 billion. Crude oil imports dropped by $1.4 billion, reflecting lower prices. Imported oil prices averaged $42.59 per barrel in January, the cheapest since December 2016. The U.S. soybean exports to China increased to $1.2 billion in January, up from $299 million during the previous month.
Three-Month Moving Averages
The average goods and services deficit decreased $1.8 billion to $53.9 billion for the three months ending in January.
• Average exports decreased $1.1 billion to $207.4 billion in January.
• Average imports decreased $2.9 billion to $261.2 billion in January.
Year-over-year, the average goods and services deficit increased $2.5 billion from the three months ending in January 2018.
• Average exports increased $4.5 billion from January 2018.
• Average imports increased $7.0 billion from January 2018.
Exports of goods increased $1.8 billion to $137.4 billion in January. Exports of services increased $0.2 billion to $70.0 billion in January. The increase in exports of goods mostly reflected increases in foods, feeds, and beverages ($1.3 billion) and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.2 billion). A decrease in capital goods ($0.8 billion) partly offset the increases.
The increase in exports of services mostly reflected increases in other business services ($0.1 billion), which includes research and development services; professional and management services; and technical, trade-related, and other services ($0.1 billion), and in transport ($0.1 billion).
Imports of goods and services decreased $6.8 billion, or 2.6 percent, in January to $258.5 billion. Imports of goods decreased $6.5 billion and imports of services decreased $0.3 billion.
The decrease in imports of goods mostly reflected decreases in capital goods ($3.0 billion) and in industrial supplies and materials ($2.3 billion). The decrease in imports of services mostly reflected decreases in transport ($0.2 billion) and in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.2 billion). An increase in other business services ($0.1 billion) partly offset the decreases.
Goods by Selected Countries and Areas: Monthly –
The January figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($4.5), United Kingdom ($2.0), Hong Kong ($1.8), Canada ($1.4), and Brazil ($1.1). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($33.2), European Union ($13.1), Mexico ($7.2), Germany ($6.0), Japan ($5.3), Italy ($2.9), South Korea ($2.4), Taiwan ($2.2), India ($1.9), France ($1.2), OPEC ($0.2), Saudi Arabia ($0.1), and Singapore (less than $0.1).
• The deficit with China decreased $5.5 billion to $33.2 billion in January. Exports decreased $0.2 billion to $7.5 billion and imports decreased $5.7 billion to $40.8 billion.
• The balance with Canada shifted from a deficit of $0.7 billion to a surplus of $1.4 billion in January. Exports increased $0.4 billion to $24.4 billion and imports decreased $1.6 billion to $23.0 billion.
• The deficit with South Korea increased $0.7 billion to $2.4 billion in January. Exports decreased $1.1 billion to $4.2 billion and imports decreased $0.4 billion to $6.6 billion.
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