2017 Economic Calendar
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International Trade  
Released On 1/6/2017 8:30:00 AM For Nov, 2016
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Trade Balance Level$-42.6 B$-42.4 B$-44.5 B$-46.0 B to $-42.0 B$-45.2 B

Highlights
The nation's trade deficit widened sharply in November, to a higher-than-expected $45.2 billion and well up from a revised deficit of $42.4 billion in October. Exports fell 0.2 percent in November while imports rose 1.1 percent.

The import side shows a significant rise in oil imports, up nearly $1 billion in the month to $9.9 billion (reflecting both an increase in volume and price). Petroleum is a key element for industrial supplies where imports rose $2.3 billion. Other readings are little changed with capital goods imports ticking lower and underscoring the nation's lack of investment in new equipment.

And capital goods lead the downtick in exports, down $1.8 billion to underscore the lack of global investment in new equipment. Exports of civilian aircraft, which are a subcomponent of capital goods, fell $1.3 billion in the month. Exports of cars and of food products also moved lower, offset by a petroleum-related rise in industrial supplies.

By country, the deficits with Canada (-$2.6 billion) and the EU (-$14.8 billion) both widened sharply while the deficits with China (-$30.5 billion) and Mexico (-$5.8 billion) both narrowed. The deficit with Japan (-$5.9 billion) was little changed.

Today's report represents a downgrade for fourth-quarter GDP which more and more will depend on how strong consumer spending was during the holidays. Watch next Friday for the retail sales report and the first definitive indication on December consumer spending.

Recent History Of This Indicator
November's international trade report looks to be unusually negative given the sharp $3.4 billion rise in the goods deficit to an advance reading of $65.3 billion. When adding what is expected to be another steady surplus for cross-border service trade, forecasters see November's deficit coming in at $44.5 billion vs October's deficit of $42.6 billion. Fourth-quarter GDP estimates could turn on the results of this report.

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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