US Trade Deficit Shrinks As Exports To China Surge

President Trump will be pleased with this set of numbers as the apparent front-running of trade tariffs has now worn off and the US trade balance (deficit) shrinks to its smallest deficit since June 2018.

The U.S. trade deficit's unexpected narrowing was driven largely by a surge in civilian aircraft exports, which may come under pressure after the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max planes.

  • Imports rose 0.2% in Feb. to $259.07b from $258.49b in Jan.

  • Exports rose 1.1% in Feb. to $209.69b from $207.36b in Jan.

The February decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $1.2  billion to $72.0 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.5 billion to $22.6 billion. 

The increase in exports of services mostly reflected increases in transport ($0.2 billion) and in other business services ($0.1 billion), which includes research and development services; professional and management services; and technical, trade-related, and other services.

The increase in exports of goods mostly reflected increases in capital goods ($2.1 billion) and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.6 billion). A decrease in industrial supplies and materials ($0.4 billion) partly offset the increases.  

The February figures show surpluses, with South and Central America ($3.7), Hong  Kong ($2.8), United Kingdom ($0.9), Brazil ($0.6), Singapore ($0.4), Canada ($0.4), and OPEC ($0.3). Deficits  were recorded with China ($30.1), European Union ($12.4), Mexico ($7.7), Japan  ($6.7), Germany ($5.5), Italy ($2.8), South Korea ($2.4), India ($2.2), France ($2.2), Taiwan ($1.7), and Saudi  Arabia ($0.3).

The deficit with China decreased dramatically with imports from China fell 3.6 percent in February from the prior month while exports to the nation rose 21.6 percent.

For some context, this is the biggest YTD reduction in the China trade deficit on record...

Trump winning? Or too soon?