Trade Deficit Grows Near-Term, Drops Long-Term

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently announced that exports in January 2013 increased to $184.5 billion from December’s total exports of $186.6 billion, a drop of $2.2 bililion. Further driving growth in the overall trade deficit was the jump in imports from $224.8 billion in December 2012 to $228.9 billion in January 2013—a $4.1 billion increase.

This has resulted in a total goods and services trade deficit of $44.4 billion, up from $38.1 billion in December 2013. This recent negative movement isn’t necessarily indicative of a broader problem, however. When compared with this time last year, the overall trade deficit has decreased $7.8 billion. Furthermore, overall exports were up $5.8 billion (3.3 percent) over the last year while imports decreased at a slower rate ($2 billion or 0.9 percent) in the same time period.

For the three months ending in January 2013, the average trade deficit was $43.6 billion, down notably from the same period one year ago when, in the three months ending in January 2012, the average trade deficit was $50.2.

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