Thursday, November 10, 2005

Record U.S. Trade Deficits

After having failed for six months to reach above the record $60.4 billion mark reached in February, the U.S. trade deficit reached the new record level of $66.1 billion in September.

This reflected largely temporary factors, like Katrina (who while reducing oil imports increased fuel and natural gas imports even more) and a strike at Boeing, so the deficit is likely to fall back in October, particularly if Boeing can compensate the lost September shipments with higher October shipments.

And it will probably not have much of a effect on third quarter GDP, because while the rise in the trade gap was nore than the advance GDP numbers assumed and while the August deficit was also revised up, this will probably be mostly cancelled out by higher than expected wholesale inventory levels.

However, while the deficit in October is likely to fall from the $66.1 billion level, it will still likely stay above $60 billion. Not all of the increase was due to the temporary Katrina and Boeing effects as the increase in the deficit with China illustrate. And while oil prices have fallen back from their peaks they are still slightly above the average $57 paid by importers in September.


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