The U.S. monthly international trade deficit decreased in February 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit decreased from $42.7 billion in January (revised) to $35.4 billion in February, as imports decreased more than exports. The previously published January deficit was $41.8 billion. The goods deficit decreased $7.4 billion from January to $55.2 billion in February. The services surplus decreased $0.1 billion from January to $19.7 billion in February.
Exports of goods and services decreased $3.0 billion, or 1.6 percent, in February to $186.2 billion. Exports of goods decreased $2.9 billion and exports of services decreased $0.1 billion.
- The decrease in exports of goods reflected decreases in capital goods ($1.7 billion), in industrial supplies and materials ($1.4 billion), and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.1 billion) that were partly offset by an increase in consumer goods ($1.3 billion) was partly offsetting.
- The decrease in exports of services reflected decreases in transport ($0.2 billion), which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, and in financial services ($0.1 billion) that were partly offset by increases in other business services ($0.1 billion) and in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion).
Imports of goods and services decreased $10.2 billion, or 4.4 percent, in February to $221.7 billion. Imports of goods decreased $10.3 billion while imports of services increased less than $0.1 billion.
- The decrease in imports of goods mostly reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($4.4 billion), in capital goods ($2.6 billion), and in automotive vehicles, parts and engines ($1.7 billion).
- The increase in imports of services reflected an increase in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion) that was mostly offset by a decrease in transport ($0.1 billion).
Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)
- The goods deficit with Japan decreased from $6.5 billion in January to $4.3 billion in February. Exports increased $0.1 billion to $5.4 billion and imports decreased $2.1 billion to $9.7 billion.
- The goods deficit with China decreased from $29.3 billion in January to $27.3 billion in February. Exports decreased $1.5 billion to $9.0 billion and imports decreased $3.5 billion to $36.3 billion.
- The balance with OPEC countries shifted from a deficit of $1.2 billion in January to a surplus of $0.3 billion in February. Exports increased $0.3 billion to $6.4 billion and imports decreased $1.3 billion to $6.0 billion.
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Published April 2, 2015
The Census Bureau’s plans to produce an advance monthly report on international trade in goods will allow the Bureau of Economic Analysis to incorporate three months of official trade data into its first estimate of quarterly Gross Domestic Product, helping to improve the accuracy of this major economic measure.
BEA Director Brian Moyer praised the move as an example of cross-agency collaboration.
“Accelerating trade data so they are included in our initial estimates of Gross Domestic Product represents a significant improvement in our ability to measure the U.S. economy accurately,” said BEA Director Moyer. “The work between BEA and the Census Bureau to make this happen underscores how interagency collaboration and innovation result in a payoff for taxpayers and our data customers.”
The first GDP report incorporating Census’ “advance” trade data will be released Thursday, July 30 with BEA’s advance estimate of second-quarter GDP.
“We expect Census’ advance trade data report to improve the accuracy of our initial, or advance, estimates of quarterly Gross Domestic Product and reduce revisions by filling in a data gap with actual trade data for the third month of the quarter,” said BEA Associate Director for National Economic Accounts Brent Moulton. “This improvement will make our advance GDP estimates more useful to businesses, policymakers and the American public. In calculating the advance estimate, BEA does have actual trade data for two months of a quarter but is missing data for the third month and has to rely on assumptions to fill that gap. Those assumptions have been an important source of revisions to our GDP estimates. The inclusion of actual trade data for the third month of the quarter is the latest effort by the Commerce Department to produce the best possible measure of the U.S. economy.”
For more information, read this FAQ. Click here for the trade report. (Announcement found on page 3 of report.)
The U.S. net international investment position was -$6,915.3 billion (preliminary) at the end of 2014 as the value of U.S. liabilities exceeded the value of U.S. assets. At the end of 2013, the net position was -$5,383.0 billion.
- The $1,532.3 billion decrease in the net position from the end of 2013 to the end of 2014 reflected a $2,515.6 billion increase in the value of U.S. liabilities that exceeded a $983.4 billion increase in the value of U.S. assets.
- The decrease in the net position reflected 1) the depreciation of major foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar that lowered the value of most U.S. assets 2) the increase in U.S. equity prices that increased at a higher rate than foreign equity prices.
- The U.S. net international investment position decreased 28.5 percent from the end of 2013 to the end of 2014, compared with a 17.6 percent decrease from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013.
- U.S. assets were $24,693.2 billion at the end of 2014 compared with $23,709.8 billion at the end of 2013.
- U.S. liabilities were $31,608.5 billion at the end of 2014 compared with $29,092.8 billion at the end of 2013.
For more, see the full report.