2015 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 6/3/2015 8:30:00 AM For Apr, 2015
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-51.4 B$-50.6 B$-44.0 B$-46.0 B to $-39.5 B$-40.9 B

Highlights
Second-quarter GDP looks to be getting a lift by a decline in imports, at least it will in April when the trade gap eased to $40.9 billion. The gap is on the low side of Econoday expectations and compares with March's outsized revised gap of $50.6 billion which was distorted by a spike in imports tied to the resolution of the first-quarter port strike. Imports fell 3.3 percent in April to $230.8 billion at the same time that exports, in another positive for GDP, showed some life, up 1.0 percent to $189.9 billion.

Consumer goods show the strongest improvement on the import side, down $4.9 billion in the month and reflecting a $1.3 billion decline in cell phones as well as declines for apparel and furniture. Imports of capital goods, industrial supplies, and autos also fell. Imports of petroleum products rose $0.2 million to $15.4 billion, more than offset by a $0.9 billion rise in petroleum exports to $8.6 billion.

Strength in exports also includes capital goods, up $2.1 billion with civilian aircraft representing nearly half the total. Exports of industrial supplies and autos were also higher.

Another plus in the report is another gain for the nation's services where the trade surplus rose to $19.8 billion from $19.4 billion in March.

Country data show a sharp easing in the gap with China, to $26.5 billion vs March's $31.2 billion, and improvement with Mexico, to a gap of $4.4 billion vs $5.5 billion in March. The gap with Europe widened slightly to $13.3 from $12.7 billion while the gap with Japan was unchanged at $7.1 billion.

The decline in imports was of course expected given the special circumstances in March, but the gain for exports is very positive suggesting an easing in dollar-related troubles and perhaps pointing to some life in foreign demand. Today's report includes annual revisions which increased deficits for 2013 and 2014.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The huge surge in imports was the memorable surprise of the March report, the result of the West Coast dock strike. The international trade gap for April is expected to narrow sharply to $44.0 billion vs March's upwardly skewed gap of $51.4 billion.

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
 
 

2015 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/72/53/64/25/56/37/78/59/310/611/412/4
Release For: NovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOct
 


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