2017 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 7/6/2017 8:30:00 AM For May, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-47.6 B$-46.2 B$-47.6 B to $-45.0 B$-46.5 B

Highlights
The nation's trade gap came in very near expectations in May, at $46.5 billion vs Econoday's consensus for $46.2 billion and under April's $47.6 billion. Exports rose a constructive 0.4 percent in the month to $192.0 billion while, in another positive for the deficit, imports edged 0.1 percent lower to $238.5 billion.

The strength in exports is centered once again in services where the surplus rose 1.0 percent to $64.8 billion. Demand for U.S. services is tied to the nation's technical and managerial skills. Exports of goods also rose, up 0.2 percent to $127.2 billion and reflecting a welcome $0.9 billion jump in consumer goods to $16.7 billion. Auto exports were also strong, up $0.6 billion to $13.2 billion.

Demand for imports is centered in capital goods, up $1.3 billion in the month to $52.8 billion which, in this case, is positive for the U.S. economy pointing to increased domestic investment in future output improvements and productivity. Crude oil imports, always a negative in the trade data, rose $0.5 billion to a monthly $11.8 billion.

By country, the nation's trade gap with China widened to $31.6 billion in May from April's $27.6 billion with Mexico also showing a large increase to $7.3 billion from $6.3 billion (note that country data, unlike other data in this report, are unadjusted for seasonal and calendar variations).

The nation's trade imbalance is running about even with earlier in the year pointing, with June data still to go, to little effect for second-quarter GDP.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Forecasters see the international trade gap for goods and services narrowing by $1.4 billion to a consensus $46.2 billion in May from $47.6 billion in April in what would be a positive for second-quarter GDP. This would be in line with advance data on the goods part of the report which, reflecting a gain for exports and a decrease in imports, narrowed by $1.2 billion in May. Any surprises in May's report could affect expectations for second-quarter GDP.

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
 
 

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/62/73/74/45/46/27/68/49/610/511/312/5
Release For: NovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOct
 


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