2018 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 4/5/2018 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-56.6 B$-56.7 B$-56.7 B$-57.6 B to $-55.0 B$-57.6 B

Highlights
The nation's trade deficit keeps deepening, to $57.6 billion in February for the fourth straight showing over $50 billion in a curve that continues to accelerate. The goods gap widened 0.4 percent in the month to $77.0 billion while, in a more significant effect, the services surplus narrowed 3.1 percent to $19.4 billion.

The goods gap reflects a 1.6 percent rise in imports to $214.2 billion that offsets and masks a solid 2.3 percent rise in exports to $137.2 billion. Leading the import side is a jump in food and industrials supplies and especially capital goods, the latter a positive indication for domestic business investment. Leading the export side are industrial supplies as well as a rare jump for vehicles and also a solid gain for capital goods which points to international business investment. For services, exports did in fact extend their steady climb to an impressive $67.3 billion in the month though imports also posted a rise, up 2.3 percent to $47.8 billion (further details on services are not available).

Country data show February's net gap with China at $29.3 billion followed in the distance by the European Union at $12.1 billion and Mexico at $6.1 billion. The gap with Japan was $5.5 billion in the month and with Canada, at $0.4 billion.

Though there are clear positives, namely the strength of cross-border demand, it's the increasing drag from net exports on GDP that is really the news of this report, one that is certain to get ever-increasing attention given all the questions over rising trade friction centered between the U.S. and China.

Consensus Outlook
The international trade deficit for goods and services is expected to widen slightly in February to $56.7 billion which would be in line with a deepening in the month's goods deficit (already reported). Exports may be solid in the February report but look to be offset by a further rise for imports.

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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