Advance Data Signals Biggest US Trade Deficit In 10 Years

For the fifth month in a row, the US trade balance went deeper into deficit (if the advance data holds), hitting a larger than expected -$74.4bn in January - the biggest deficit since July 2008 (in the middle of the last recession).

Both imports and exports dropped in January:

  • Exports fell 2.2% in Jan. to $133.922b from $137.004b in the prior month

  • Imports fell 0.5% to $208.317b in Jan. from $209.263b in Dec.

But the overall picture is not pretty...

As a reminder, the trade deficit was actually at a record high ex-petroleum in December...


TBT or not TBT Bes Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:43 Permalink

Ex oil is a missing a pretty big thing .   US petroleum production has been rising the entire time of this graph .    As to ex-oil deficit, may be we are buying a lot of tools and productivity items on the expectation, at the micro economic level, of a growth environment due to less regulation and taxes as viewed by low level decision maker throughout the domestic economy .

In reply to by Bes

MK ULTRA Alpha TBT or not TBT Tue, 02/27/2018 - 10:45 Permalink

Exactly. There was a surge in purchase of imported robotic capital equipment in the Nov-Dec 2017. I expect that trend of retooling with the most advanced Japanese robots is now a major trend. The US has moved or is about to be, from 3rd rank most deployed robots to number one rank, but that hasn't been official, it's close.

It was actually a surprise to see early retooling from small business before the tax cut and the new appreciation allowance. It's a real trend, and the tax cut adds to the trend.

There are three productivity waves, the record energy production, the robotic retooling, and the productive use of capital from increasing interest rates. However, it remains to be seen if this economy will grow fast enough to slow the US government's deficit.

In 18 months from the tax cut, the results should be a super boom economy. Inflation is a given no matter how much the Fed hikes rates. But the big danger is US government borrowing for the deficit crowding out private sector borrowers.

In reply to by TBT or not TBT

silverer Dratpmurt Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:40 Permalink

OMG! You are so smart! Holy shit! We all know there were nothing but huge trade surpluses for YEARS under Obama! He did so good, the US had trillions and trillions in heaping surpluses. We're all rich and well off thanks to him. Yep. He fixed it good. Christ almighty, why didn't we re-elect that genius? Honestly now, Dratpmurt. Open a book now and then, OK?

In reply to by Dratpmurt

bshirley1968 silverer Tue, 02/27/2018 - 10:08 Permalink

Why do you feel the need to defend Trump? Don't give me that shit about "he's our President", because so was Obama.

Why can't the both be the idiots they are? Why can't we forget party affiliations, and just call it like it is?

When I point out Trump's glaring hypocracies, his stupid arrogance, or ignorant statements, it is not because I am a Democrat or Obama/Hillary's because it is the truth.

Quit defending the indefensible. New boss, same as the old boss. Deal with it.

In reply to by silverer

silverer Kaiser Sousa Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:43 Permalink

I now smile when I buy Chinese goods. If I find something made in the USA, I look for a replacement from China. And I will continue to buy everything I possibly can from China, until the US Congress decides to stop lying and screwing everyone in the US, and cuts spending. Until then, I owe no loyalty at all to the US, because the US leadership has absolutely none to its own citizens.

In reply to by Kaiser Sousa

William Dorritt Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:30 Permalink

Globalism is designed to produce slave populations at the lowest possible cost.

Tariffs and Quotas and currencies that maintain their value work to the advantage of all citizens of all countries.

silverer Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:35 Permalink

I get invitations regularly from US Commercial Service, put into action by Obama to perk up exports. Yep. You get invited to fly three states away and stay in a top priced hotel for two nights, so you can take classes (you have to pay for) and learn about export compliance so you don't get your goods confiscated because you failed to fill something out properly on your paperwork to make .gov happy. I see US exports as another cash cow for the US government. They always want "their cut". That's why a lot of US companies just moved the fuck out and set up shop overseas.

SDShack Tue, 02/27/2018 - 12:05 Permalink

Since we have been in a world wide recession since 1999, falling Imports and Exports is just statistical noise. IMO, the real underlying trend is now moving from trade/resource wars to currency wars. We will continue to see schizophrenic moves in currency markets as TPTB try to protect their currency turf among threats like _exit, crypto, etc. But the USSA, with the biggest Security State, will defend the Petro$ to the last man standing. 

abgary1 Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:39 Permalink

The tax cuts had so much potential. If only they had been matched by spending cuts.

The government has a spending problem not a revenue problem.

Government spending does not drive the economy!

Socialism does not work.


Automate the public sector and slash government spending and taxes.

Ban automation of the private sector, put people back to work and let them keep their money.

hannah Tue, 02/27/2018 - 14:12 Permalink

isnt it funny how we export energy.......we dont have 1 penny gasoline at the pump in my neighborhood. seems that the american energy compamies THAT RECIEVE MASSIVE TAXPAYER FUNDED GRANTS are not really for the american taxpayer...

Let it Go Tue, 02/27/2018 - 19:13 Permalink

Trade policy has massive long-term ramifications on the strength of a nation's economy. Often people fail to note the difference between free and fair trade. In many ways, the global economy has become an ill-regulated business model tilted to favor big business and giant conglomerates. We should not lose sight of the fact that while free trade is important, fair trade is far more so and should be the main issue.

Developing a long-term sustainable economic system that is balanced would contribute to both global cohesion and the world economy. The article below is in response to a slew of comments from my recent article titled, "Higher Prices On Import Goods A Fair Cost For Jobs". Today many people supporting past trade agreements mistakenly use low consumer prices as a battle flag around which to rally.

 http://Free Trade And Fair Trade Are Very Different.html