U.S. trade deficit shrinks—imports, exports hit record highs

April 14, 2004

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced April 14 that total February exports of $92.4 billion and imports of $134.5 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $42.1 billion, $1.4 billion less than the $43.5 billion in January, revised. Analysts credit the combination of the weak U.S. dollar and stronger economic growth in the U.S.

February exports were $3.5 billion more than January exports of $88.8 billion, a 4 percent increase. February imports were $2.2 billion more than January imports of $132.3 billion, a 1.6 percent increase.

Imports from China declined 28 percent, $11.3 billion, the lowest level in nearly a year, and exports to China increased 17 percent to $3.0 billion.

Goods

In February, the goods deficit decreased $1.3 billion from January to $47.2 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.1 billion to $5.2 billion.

Exports of goods increased $3.2 billion to $65.1 billion, and imports of goods increased $1.9 billion to $112.3 billion. Exports of services increased to $27.3 billion from $26.9 billion, and imports of services increased to $22.2 billion from $21.9 billion.

In February, the goods and services deficit was up $3.5 billion from February 2003. Exports were up $9.7 billion, or 11.7 percent, and imports were up $13.2 billion, or 10.9 percent.

The January to February change in exports of goods reflected increases in capital goods ($1.5 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($0.7 billion); consumer goods ($0.3 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.3 billion); other goods ($0.2 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.1 billion).

The January to February change in imports of goods reflected increases in industrial supplies and materials ($2.0 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.7 billion); other goods ($0.3 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.2 billion). Decreases occurred in capital goods ($0.8 billion) and consumer goods ($0.6 billion).

The February 2003 to February 2004 change in exports of goods reflected increases in capital goods ($3.2 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($1.9 billion); consumer goods ($1.1 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.4 billion); foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.3 billion); and other goods ($0.3 billion).

The February 2003 to February 2004 change in imports of goods reflected increases in industrial supplies and materials ($3.6 billion); capital goods ($2.9 billion); consumer goods ($1.8 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.6 billion); foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.7 billion); and other goods ($0.2 billion).

Services

Services exports increased $0.4 billion from January to February. The increase was mostly accounted for by increases in travel, other private services (which includes items such as business, professional, and technical services, insurance services, and financial services), and other transportation (which includes freight and port services). Changes in the other categories of services exports were small.

Services imports increased $0.3 billion from January to February. The increase was mostly accounted for by increases in travel, other private services, other transportation, and direct defense expenditures. Changes in the other categories of services imports were small.

From February 2003 to February 2004, services exports increased $2.5 billion. The largest increases were in other private services ($1.1 billion) and travel ($0.5 billion).

From February 2003 to February 2004, services imports increased $2.4 billion. The largest increases were in other private services ($0.7 billion), other transportation ($0.7 billion), and travel ($0.5 billion).

Goods and Services Moving Average

For the three months ending in February, exports of goods and services averaged $90.4 billion, while imports of goods and services averaged $133.2 billion, resulting in an average trade deficit of $42.7 billion. For the three months ending in January, the average trade deficit was $41.5 billion, reflecting average exports of $89.9 billion and average imports of $131.3 billion.



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