March Deficit Declines for the Second Consecutive Month

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By:  Lindsay Kuberka

The Nation’s international trade deficit decreased to $38.8 billion from $43.6 billion in February (revised).  Exports decreased $1.7 billion to $184.3 billion, primarily due to a $1.1 billion decline of petroleum exports. Imports decreased more than exports, falling $6.5 billion to $223.1 billion. Much of the decline in imports was due to a fall of $1.9 billion of imports of crude oil as well as a fall of $1.1 billion of imports of computers.

Imports of petroleum continued to be the big story this month. The seasonally adjusted petroleum deficit decreased $0.3 billion to $21.1 billion, but still higher than December’s deficit of $18.6 billion.  Not seasonally adjusted data show that average daily barrels of crude oil imported in March (7.0 million) were the lowest since March 1996 (6.5 million). The graph of the month shows the same data for the top five countries of import in March 2013 over the past two years.

Advanced Technology Product Exports Increase

March exports of Advanced Technology Products were the highest on record, climbing $4.9 billion to $27.9 billion. This is a 21.5% increase from the February level of $23.0 billion. The greatest increases came from gains in trade in the aerospace group ($1.8 billion) where we currently have a trade surplus of $5.7 billion. Exports in the information and communications group increased $1.3 billion, while exports in the nuclear technology group increased $0.6 billion.

Related-Party Exports and Imports Increase in 2012

In addition to the March U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report, the Census Bureau also released the U.S. Goods Trade: Imports & Exports by Related-Parties 2012 report.  In 2012, related-party trade accounted for 41.7 percent ($1,582.3 billion) of total goods trade ($3,797.5 billion). This represents an increase of 6.6 percent ($97.8 billion) in related-party trade from 2011. During the same period, total trade increased by only 3.5 percent ($130.0 billion).

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