2018 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 1/5/2018 8:30:00 AM For Nov, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-48.7 B$-48.9 B$-50.0 B$-50.5 B to $-46.0 B$-50.5 B

Highlights
Net exports look to be holding back fourth-quarter GDP following a second month of deep deficit, at $50.5 billion in November following an upward revised $48.9 billion in October. The monthly average two months into the fourth quarter is $49.7 billion which compares very unfavorably with the third-quarter monthly average of $45.1 billion.

Aside from GDP where imports are a negative, there are substantial signs of strength in today's report. Exports jumped 2.3 percent in the month to $200.2 billion led by a 3.4 percent expansion in goods, to $134.6 billion, though service exports, at $65.7 billion, could manage only a 0.1 percent gain. Exports of capital goods and especially aircraft were very strong with solid gains also posted for vehicles and even consumer goods.

Imports, at $250.7 billion, jumped 2.5 percent in the month and offer definitive evidence that domestic demand is very strong. Details on the import side show what is in fact a sizable and welcome gain in capital goods which points to new business investment in what will help the nation's productivity. Imports of consumer goods, however, also rose and very sharply, up $2.4 billion to $52.4 billion. Oil imports rose nearly $1 billion in the month to $15.7 billion reflecting an increase in both volume and price.

Country data show a small rise in the deficit with China, now at $35.4 billion, and a sharp rise in the deficit with the EU to $14.7 billion. Monthly deficits shrunk with Mexico at $6.0 billion, Japan at $5.8 billion, and Canada at $1.0 billion.

The fourth quarter looks to have been very healthy though the rise in imports, even though it reflects increased domestic demand, will nevertheless hold down fourth-quarter GDP.

Consensus Outlook
The international trade deficit is expected to widen in November, to $50.0 billion from October's already steep deficit of $48.7 billion. A comparison with the third-quarter monthly average of $45.1 billion is not favorable for fourth-quarter GDP. Advance data on the goods portion of this report showed widening in November as a rise in imports offset a rise in exports.

Definition
International trade is composed of merchandise (tangible goods) and services. It is available nationally by export, import and trade balance. Merchandise trade is available by export, import and trade balance for six principal end-use commodity categories and for more than one hundred principal Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) system commodity groupings. Data are also available for 36 countries and geographic regions. Detailed information is reported on oil and motor vehicle imports. Services trade is available by export, import and trade balance for seven principal end-use categories.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Exports grow when foreign economies are strong. The weaker the foreign exchange value of the dollar, the less expensive goods and services are to foreigners, and this also helps spurt export activity. Imports grow when U.S. economic growth is robust. Imports are also spurred by a strong foreign exchange value of the dollar.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
[Chart]
The international trade balance has posted a deficit almost continuously since the 1980s. Any trade deficit is a drag on U.S. GDP growth, but a smaller deficit adds to growth, while a larger deficit decreases GDP growth.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/52/63/74/55/36/67/68/39/510/511/212/6
Release For: NovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOct
 


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