By: Joe Kafchinski
The Nation’s international trade deficit increased to $39.7 billion in February from $37.0 billion (revised) in January, as imports increased more than exports.
February 2010 exports are up $17.9 billion (14.3%) and imports are up $31.1 billion (20.5%) compared to February 2009.
For exports, the February 2010 vs. February 2009 increase is largely driven by increases in industrial supplies and materials (up $7.2 billion) and automotive goods (up $3.2 billion). Consumer goods is showing a small increase, up 3.8% ($0.5 billion) over February 2009.
For imports, almost half the February 2010-over-February 2009 increase is an increase in industrial supplies and materials, which is up $14.3 billion, or 41.6% (this is the category that contains petroleum). In February 2009, petroleum accounted for just under half of the $26.5 billion trade deficit ($13.2 billion, 49.8%). In February 2010, petroleum accounts for 57.7% of the $39.7 billion deficit.
Fay mentioned last month the historically (at least for the last decade) low quantity of petroleum imports. For the third month out of the last four, crude oil imports were the lowest since February 1999 (234.3 million barrels) – 245.4 million barrels in November, 245.3 million barrels in January and 243.3 million barrels in February.