U.S. Exports Reach Record High; Trade Deficit Lowest in almost Two Years

Monday, November 12, 2012

For the first time in two years the United States’ trade deficit has actually shrunk, thanks to a record high in exports.


The deficit fell to $41.5 billion in September, the lowest imbalance since December 2010.


The change was brought about by a 3.1% increase in exports to $187 billion, an all-time high. Sales of commercial aircraft, heavy machinery and farm goods, especially soybeans, helped fuel the rise. Another key factor was a $2.2 billion boost in oil exports, spearheaded by the production of natural gas by fracking (hydraulic fracturing).


Economists warned that the good news may not last, if the global economy continues to slow down and cause a reduction in demand for U.S. goods.


Imports did go up slightly in September, by 1.5%, to $228.5 billion. Part of the reason was attributed to the release of the new Apple iPhone5.


Overall, the U.S. deficit for 2012 is less than it was last year, dropping from $559.9 billion to $554 billion.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

US Trade Deficit Narrows to $41.5 Billion (by Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press)

American Oil Boom Shrinks Trade Deficit (by Ben Casselman, Wall Street Journal)

U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services September 2012 (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis) (pdf)


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