Farrell: What the Trade Deficit Numbers Mean

The trade deficit widened slightly to $27 billion from $26 billion last month. It was $65 billion just 11 months ago. Exports were up $2.4 billion to $125.8 billion and imports were also up by $3.5 billion to $152.8 billion (thus the deficit of $27 billion.)

The rise in imports was due almost exclusively to the price of imported oil. Non-petroleum imports fell 1%. Excluding petroleum, the trade deficit would have shrank from $12.7 billion to $9.8 billion. This figure was $23.4 billion one year ago.

  • Oil Rises Above $70 as US Fuel Supplies Increase

The rise in exports—the second straight monthly increase—can be viewed as a positive comment on the beginning recovery in world trade. The fall in imports shows the continued caution being exercised by the American consumer.