2012 Economic Calendar
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International Trade
Released On 2/10/2012 8:30:00 AM For Dec, 2011
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-47.8 B$-47.1 B$-47.8 B$-50.0 B to $-45.5 B$-48.8 B

Highlights
In December, the U.S. trade deficit worsened due to a jump in imports outpacing a rise in exports. The trade gap expanded to $48.8 billion from $47.1 billion in November (originally $47.8 billion). Market expectations were for a gap of $47.8 billion. Exports rebounded 0.7 percent after declining 1.0 percent in November. Imports advanced 1.3 percent in December, following a 1.0 percent gain the prior month.

The worsening in the trade gap was led by the nonpetroleum goods deficit widened to $36.5 billion from $34.1 billion the month before. The petroleum gap narrowed to $26.9 billion from $27.6 billion in November. The services surplus was essentially unchanged at $15.5 billion.

The rise in imports was led by capital goods excluding autos with consumer goods a close second. Apparently, businesses are a little more optimistic about boosting investment and also are planning on gains in consumer spending.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, the December figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, in part with Hong Kong $2.5 ($3.2 for November), Australia $1.7 ($1.5), and Singapore $1.3 ($1.0). Deficits were recorded in part, in billions of dollars, with China $23.1 ($26.9), European Union $9.6 ($9.7), OPEC $9.1 ($9.1), Japan $6.5 ($6.2), Mexico $4.9 ($5.5), Germany $4.8 ($4.7), and Canada $3.9 ($3.0).

Today's report was a little worse than expected and there was little market reaction in equity futures. But futures were down sharply on news that European officials rejected Greece's latest austerity plan which was believed to be a final deal yesterday.



Recent History Of This Indicator
The U.S. international trade gap in November widened sharply due largely to a jump in oil imports but also due to a dip in exports. The trade gap grew to $47.8 billion from $43.3 billion in October. Exports declined 0.9 percent after dipping 0.7 percent in October. Imports rebounded 1.3 percent in November, following a 1.0 percent decline the prior month. The worsening in the trade gap was led by the petroleum gap which expanded to $27.6 billion from $24.2 billion in October. The nonpetroleum goods deficit widened to $34.8 billion from $33.2 billion the month before. The services surplus was slightly improved at $15.4 billion from $15.3 billion in September.

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
 

 

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/132/103/94/125/106/87/118/99/1110/1111/812/11
Release For: NovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOct
 


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