2018 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 5/3/2018 8:30:00 AM For Mar, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-57.6 B$-57.7 B$-49.9 B$-57.8 B to $-48.7 B$-49.0 B

Highlights
The trade deficit fell sharply in March to $49.0 billion with the Chinese deficit, amid all the talk of trade war, narrowing sharply to $25.9 billion from February's $29.3 billion. Import tariffs on steel and aluminum were imposed late in the month but they didn't stem steel imports which rose to $2.8 billion compared to $2.2 billion in February.

March's results are actually very positive. Exports rose 2.0 percent in the month to $208.5 billion at the same time that imports fell 1.8 percent to $257.5 billion. Goods exports, led by capital goods and including a gain for food products, climbed 2.7 percent to $140.9 billion with service exports up 0.6 percent to a very solid $67.7 billion.

Conclusions have to be taken cautiously since many of the details, including the country deficit which China, are unlike the headline and not adjusted for seasonal and calendar issues. But trends may begin to appear in the months ahead with the outlook hinting at a narrowing with China with metal imports eventually to come down.

Consensus Outlook
The international trade deficit for goods and services is expected to narrow sharply in March to $49.9 billion from February's $57.6 billion, in line with advance data on the goods portion of the balance. Imports of goods fell sharply in March while goods exports continued their run of strength.

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 48 countries and 7 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 nation's international trade balance has been in continuous deficit since the 1980s. Yet trade, even though in deficit, can still add to GDP provided the deficit is narrowing. A deepening deficit is a negative for GDP.
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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