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Widening of U.S. Trade Deficit Partly Reflects Jump in Oil Imports

Economics / US Economy Feb 12, 2011 - 06:31 AM GMT

By: Asha_Bangalore

Economics The trade deficit of the U.S. economy widened to $40.6 billion in December from $38.3 billion in the prior month.  Exports (+1.8%) and imports (+2.6%) of goods and services advanced in December.  Petroleum imports (+12.2% in real terms) made up a large part of imports in December. 


After adjusting for inflation, the trade deficit of goods widened to $46.0 billion during December from $45.2 billion in November.  In the fourth quarter, the trade deficit narrowed noticeably and lifted growth of real GDP.  The advance estimate of real GDP includes assumptions of the trade deficit in December.  The December estimate of the trade deficit is smaller compared with assumptions in the advance report, which implies that an upward revision is likely.  However, the net impact will be determined after the report on inventories and retail sales are published next week. 


 
The economic recovery led to an increase in exports and imports in 2010 after the sharp drop in trade during 2009 due the Great Recession. 


 
Exports to China in 2010 made up 7.2% of total exports of the United States compared with 5.4% and 6.6% in 2008 and 2009, respectively.  At the same time, imports from China as a percent of total imports were little changed in 2009 and 2010. 



Asha Bangalore — Senior Vice President and Economist

http://www.northerntrust.com

Asha Bangalore is Vice President and Economist at The Northern Trust Company, Chicago. Prior to joining the bank in 1994, she was Consultant to savings and loan institutions and commercial banks at Financial & Economic Strategies Corporation, Chicago.

Copyright © 2011 Asha Bangalore

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The Northern Trust Company does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein, such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.


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