Skip nav to main content.

U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks

The U.S. trade deficit – at least in terms of goods and services traded, has…

  • December 29, 2019

The U.S. trade deficit – at least in terms of goods and services traded, has shrunk recently. It’s one of those things economists will term as “good news” with a thousand “buts”.

However, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has announced that the goods and services deficit was $47.2 billion in October, down $3.9 billion from $51.1 billion in September, revised.

October exports were $207.1 billion, $0.4 billion less than September exports. October imports were $254.3 billion, $4.3 billion less than September imports.

The October decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $3.7 billion to $68.0 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.2 billion to $20.8 billion.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $6.9 billion, or 1.3 percent, from the same period in 2018. Exports decreased $0.8 billion or less than 0.1 percent. Imports increased $6.1 billion or 0.2 percent.

The average goods and services deficit decreased $1.8 billion to $50.6 billion for the three months ending in October.

Trade Surpluses with Some Countries, Deficits with Others

The October figures show the U.S. with surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($4.7), OPEC ($1.9), Hong Kong ($1.8), Brazil ($1.2), United Kingdom ($0.8), Singapore ($0.6), and Saudi Arabia ($0.6).

Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($27.8), European Union ($14.3), Mexico ($7.8), Germany ($5.0), Japan ($4.5), Canada ($3.4), Italy ($2.6), France ($2.0), India ($2.0), Taiwan ($1.6), and South Korea ($1.5).

But, But, But…

Of course, these numbers are being impacted by the current U.S. trade war with China. Indeed, the main reason that the U.S. goods and services deficit with the rest of the world is down to a 16-month low, is due to decreased imports from one nation, China.

Economists are therefore reluctant to declare victory – at least not without a lot of “buts”.

Related articles: