The Commerce Department International Trade report for January shows the US trade deficit with the rest of the world increased to $-56.6 billion from a revised higher $55.1 billion in December.

Trade Highlights

  • January exports were $200.9 billion, $2.7 billion less than December exports.
  • January imports were $257.5 billion, down less than $0.1 billion from December imports.
  • The January increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $2.8 billion to $76.5 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.1 billion to $19.9 billion.
  • Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit increased $7.9 billion, or 16.2 percent, from January 2017. Exports increased $9.7 billion or 5.1 percent. Imports increased $17.6 billion or 7.4 percent.

Goods Exports

Exports of goods on a Census basis decreased $3.3 billion.

  • Capital goods decreased $2.6 billion.
  • Industrial supplies and materials decreased $1.3 billion.
  • Other goods decreased $1.0 billion.
  • Consumer goods increased $1.2 billion (Artwork, antiques, stamps, and other collectibles increased $0.5 billion. Pharmaceutical preparations increased $0.4 billion.)

We are exporting more antiques. Lovely. That will get the economy humming.

Goods Imports

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Imports of goods on a Census basis decreased $0.3 billion.

  • Capital goods decreased $1.3 billion.
  • Consumer goods decreased $0.9 billion. (Cell phones and other household goods decreased $1.2 billion).
  • Industrial supplies and materials increased $2.0 billion.

Goods by Selected Countries and Areas

  • The January figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with Hong Kong ($2.6), South and Central America ($2.4), Singapore ($0.9), Brazil ($0.5), and United Kingdom ($0.3).
  • Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($35.5), European Union ($15.0), Germany ($6.3), Mexico ($5.6), Japan ($5.6), Italy ($2.8), OPEC ($2.5), India ($1.8), Taiwan ($1.5), Canada ($1.5), South Korea ($1.5), France ($1.4), and Saudi Arabia ($0.6).

The Econoday consensus was for the trade deficit to widen to $-55.1 billion from $53.1 billion. The consensus range was $-56.1 billion to $-52.8 billion. The report was outside the range. Trump will howl.

It's shocking, but somehow Econoday did not find hidden strength in antiques.

Suggestions

Let's invade Canada over that $1.5 billion. We need to go after Italian shoes too. To hell with it. Just stop all imports and export more antiques and drugs.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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