Record Goods and Services Trade in 2011

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By: Fay Johnson

First, let’s take a quick look at the trade numbers for December 2011.  For December, the trade deficit in goods and services increased to $48.8 billion from $47.1 billion (revised) in November, as imports increased $3.0 billion and exports increased $1.2 billion.

For the year, the deficit increased to $558.0 billion in 2011 from $500.0 billion in 2010, as imports increased $323.5 billion and exports increased $265.5 billion. Both exports ($2.1 trillion) and imports ($2.7 trillion) of goods and services were records in 2011, while the deficit was still substantially lower than its record high of $753.3 billion in 2006.

Lets take a look at the growth in exports starting from 2009 when the National Export Initiative (NEI) began. Goods and services exports grew $265.5 billion or 14.5% in 2011 from 2010, this is slightly larger dollar growth than the 2010 export growth of $262.5 billion. Goods exports on a Census basis grew $202.4 billion in 2011, down from the growth of $222.2 billion in 2010, but still a substantial growth rate of 15.8%. The graphs of the month show what geographic regions and commodities are leading this growth.

U.S  Geo
Industrial supplies and materials lead export growth in both 2010 and 2011.  In 2011 exports of other petroleum products and fuel oil accounted for $41.1 billion of the increase in exports in this category. Check out the graph of the month for October to look at the trends in these two commodities or Exhibit 7 of the release for detail on all commodity exports.

58% of the 2011 export growth was accounted for by an increase in exports to North America and Asia. Just four countries: Mexico, Canada, China and Hong Kong, accounted for 46% of the growth.  For more information on the top countries for export growth, click here.

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