"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

International Trade

The International Trade Balance - aka the US International Trade in Goods and Services report - is a look at the nation's trade deficit.  Or, theoretically, our trade surplus.  It's a pretty hefty report as economic indicators go, because it's added to the sum of consumer spending plus private investing plus government spending to determine what our GDP is.  And since we've been running a trade deficit for decades now, meaning nobody seriously expects to see a surplus when the report comes out, the markets get happy when the trade deficit shrinks.
Last month, there was no happy for the markets.  The analysts had been expecting the trade deficit to decline $1 billion to a level of $42.7 billion.  Unfortunately, the sad reality was that our trade deficit increased $6.5 billion to a level of $50.2 billion, driven by a decrease in industrial supplies and materials exports and an increase in imports of industrial goods and supplies and of capital goods.
But hope springs eternal, and the Econoday-surveyed analysts are expecting June to be a better month.  They're looking for a $2.2 billion decline in the trade deficit, bringing it to a new level of $48 billion.
Turning now to the joint US Census Bureau/US Bureau of Economic Analysis report, we see that hope - far from springing lightly - has been crushed to earth by the iron-shod fist of reality.  The trade deficit did not decline $2.2 billion.  It did not decline at all.  Rather, it increased $2.9 billion to a level of $53.1 billion.
So, yeah.  No happy for the markets on this front this month either.

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