US trade deficit in goods and services in October 2013

US Trade Deficit Narrows in October

Dec. 4, 2013
Exports of goods increases to $135.3 billion, led by industrial supplies and materials.

The trade picture brightened slightly for the United States in October as the trade deficit for goods and services fell to $40.6 billion, down from the revised $43 billion in September. October exports were up $3.4 billion from the September total of $189.3 billion, while October imports increased by $1 billion to $233.3 billion.

The $192.7 billion in exports of goods and services was a record, prompting Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg to claim “as another record month for American exporters and American jobs shows ­ the ‘Made in America’ brand remains a top seller.”

But economist Alan Tonelson of the U.S. Business and Industry Council, representing small-to-mid-size manufacturers, said the trade deficit continued to be a serious drag on the economy.

“At its $40 billion-plus recent average levels, the trade deficit continues to deprive the U.S. economy of much more demand each month than January’s tax increases ($15.8 billion monthly) and sequester spending cuts ($12.1 billion) combined. Even worse, virtually all of this trade damage comes in the economy’s private sector,” he stated.

The goods deficit narrowed by $2.2 billion to $60.2 billion in October. Exports of goods increased $3 billion to $135.3 billion. The nation also imported more goods, up $0.8 billion to $195.5 billion in October.

Export increases in goods in October included industrial supplies and materials ($1.5 billion); consumer goods ($1 billion); food and beverages ($0.6 billion); capital goods ($0.3 billion) and other goods ($0.2 billion). Exports of automotive vehicles and parts fell by $0.2 billion.

Through October, the trade deficit for goods stood at $594 billion, down just under 4% from the $619.4 billion for the corresponding period of 2012. Exports are up $19.3 billion to $1.32 trillion, while imports have fallen just over $6 billion to $1.9 trillion.

The U.S. trade deficit in goods with China fell slightly in October, to $28.9 billion from $30.5 billion in September. U.S. trade deficits also narrowed in October for Canada and Mexico, to $2.98 billion and $4.1 billion respectively.

The U.S. continued to run a deficit in trade of advanced technology products, increasing to $9.8 billion in October from $8.1 billion in September.

The trade numbers present more evidence for growth in the fourth quarter, said Michael Dolega, a senior economist with TD Economics. “The October surge in exports to its record high, taken together with a solid new exports sub-index reading from Monday’s ISM manufacturing report, should lend support to growth in an otherwise lackluster quarter dented by the federal government shutdown.”

About the Author

Steve Minter | Steve Minter, Executive Editor

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An award-winning editor, Executive Editor Steve Minter covers leadership, global economic and trade issues and energy, tackling subject matter ranging from CEO profiles and leadership theories to economic trends and energy policy. As well, he supervises content development for editorial products including the magazine,, research and information products, and conferences.

Before joining the IW staff, Steve was publisher and editorial director of Penton Media’s EHS Today, where he was instrumental in the development of the Champions of Safety and America’s Safest Companies recognition programs.

Steve received his B.A. in English from Oberlin College. He is married and has two adult children.

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