Those waiting to see if the crude crash would lead to any sizable adverse impact on the US trade deficit in November, as lower production led to higher imports if only on paper, the answer is yes, but in the opposite direction: instead of increasing or dropping just marginally from October's $43.4 billion (to the $42 billion consensus estimate), the November trade deficit tumbled by 7.7% to $39 billion the lowest print since December 2013, as a result of a 2.2% drop in imports coupled with a 1% decline in exports. But it was shale crude once again that was the swing factor, which was massively produced as domestic producers scramble to offset declining prices with extra volume, because as the data showed, in November the US imported the smallest crude amount by notional since 1994, and the lowest cost crude since 2010.
And while this will boost GDP marginally now based on beancounter models, it means that in the coming months, as the peak shale production is exhausted and as capacity goes offline first slowly then fast, the deficit is once again set to surge as US shale production goes dark and the US is once again forced to import more crude from abroad, thus boosting the deficit, and leading to a GDP decline.
Excluding the swing impact of crude,the US non-petroleum trade balance remained near record wides, printing at $46.6 billion in November.
The other details from the report:
The U.S. monthly international trade deficit decreased in November 2014 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit decreased from $42.2 billion in October (revised) to $39.0 billion in November, as imports decreased more than exports. The previously published October deficit was $43.4 billion. The goods deficit decreased $3.3 billion from October to $58.3 billion in November. The services surplus decreased $0.1 billion from October to $19.3 billion in November.
Exports of goods and services decreased $2.0 billion in November to $196.4 billion, mostly reflecting a decrease in exports of goods. Exports of services also decreased.
- The decrease in exports of goods was more than accounted for by a decrease in capital goods. An increase in industrial supplies and materials was partly offsetting.
- The decrease in exports of services mostly reflected a decrease in transport, which includes freight and port services and passenger fares.
Imports of goods and services decreased $5.2 billion in November to $235.4 billion, reflecting a decrease in imports of goods. Imports of services were nearly unchanged.
- The decrease in imports of goods mostly reflected a decrease in industrial supplies and materials.
- Imports of services were nearly unchanged as a decrease in travel (for all purposes including education) was mostly offset by small increases in several other categories.
Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)
- The goods deficit with Canada decreased from $2.7 billion in October (revised) to $1.4 billion in November. Exports were nearly unchanged at $26.7 billion and imports decreased $1.3 billion to $28.1 billion.
- The goods surplus with South and Central America increased from $2.3 billion in October to $4.3 billion in November. Exports increased $0.5 billion to $15.5 billion and imports decreased $1.5 billion to $11.2 billion.
- The goods deficit with the European Union increased from $11.2 billion in October to $12.7 billion in November. Exports decreased $0.7 billion to $22.2 billion and imports increased $0.8 billion to $35.0 billion.