U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows A Bit

By John S. McClenahen Although still a very large number, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services with the rest of the world decreased in September. U.S. imports totaling $149.044 billion minus exports of $97.486 billion netted a deficit of $51.559 billion, nearly $2 billion less than August's revised trade deficit of $53.549 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Nov. 10. On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports of U.S. goods totaled $68.943 billion in September, their third consecutive monthly increase. Goods coming to the U.S. from other countries in September totaled $124.512 billion, some $55.569 billion more than U.S. goods exports, including, notes Merrill Lynch & Co., a 53% increase in civilian aircraft imports. The U.S. trade deficit with China in September was $15.521 billion, bringing the bilateral deficit for the first nine months of this year to $114.307 billion. Separately on Nov. 10, the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported its import price index rose 1.5% in October as an 11.7% increase in petroleum prices more than offset a 0.2% decline in its price index for non-petroleum imports. BLS's export price index rose 0.7% in October, with an increase in non-agricultural export prices more than offsetting a decline in agricultural prices. Industrial supplies and materials led the increase in the non-agricultural export price index, with rising prices for chemicals, fuel and metals also contributing.

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