2017 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 10/5/2017 8:30:00 AM For Aug, 2017
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-43.7 B$-43.6 B$-42.5 B$-45.2 B to $-41.4 B$-42.4 B

Highlights
August trade data are positive for third-quarter GDP, at a deficit of $42.4 billion which is right at expectations and includes gains for exports and declines for imports. Exports rose 0.4 percent to $195.3 billion and include a 0.4 percent rise for goods, to $129.2 billion, and a 0.1 decline for imports to $237.7 billion. The goods deficit, as indicated in last week's advance report, improved 1.3 percent to $64.4 billion while the services surplus, fresh data in today's report, widened 1.4 percent to $22.0 billion.

The export side shows gains for consumer goods and capital goods while the import side shows declines for industrial supplies and capital goods. Petroleum trade, reflecting a nearly $1 price rise to $44.11 per imported barrel as well as a rise in import volume, was a negative in the month with the deficit widening to $4.9 billion from July's $3.0 billion. Country data show monthly widening with Mexico, to a cross-border deficit of $6.2 billion, and China to $34.9 billion, and narrowing with the EU to $12.4 billion.

The effect of Hurricane Harvey's late August landfall on Texas could not be quantified by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, though Hurricane Irma's hit on Florida in the next trade report for September, given its impact along the Southeast seaboard, is still a wild card for third-quarter net exports.

Recent History Of This Indicator
The international trade deficit held steady in July and forecasters, in what be a plus for third-quarter GDP, are calling for a sharp narrowing in August to $42.5 vs July's $43.7. This would be in line with advance data on the goods part of the report which narrowed in August, to $62.9 billion from $63.9 billion. Note that hurricane effects are in play as Irma may have shut in imports and kept out exports during the month.

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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