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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

U.S. Trade Deficit Down Most in 12 Years

Paul over at Infectious Greed points out the strange reaction to this morning's trade data.

Trade data today was one of those outrageous sorts of crazy thing that happen lately, and yet causes no-one to blink an eye. We had a nearly 30% drop in the U.S. trade deficit, one of the largest percentage drops of all time, and yet it really didn’t matter in some sense.

Why? Because both imports and exports tumbled too. There was a 12% (!) drop in imports -- almost $25-billion, off the top. Admittedly, that was driven by both oil prices and declining consumer demand, but it was eye-popping. And exports fell too, but not on the same scale, with them tumbling a mere 6%.

note: the U.S. has a trade deficit for goods and a trade surplus for services, thus the chart below shows a drastic reduction in net imports for goods and a slight increase in net exports for services.

Source: Census