The monthly reports include revisions that go back several months. This report details U.S. exports and imports of goods and services.
The Bretton Woods agreement, which established a stable foreign currency exchange system (as well as created the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of International Settlements), collapsed in 1971 and as a result, currency values began to float freely and the US dollar was no longer tied to gold values. Since 1976, the United States has had an annual negative trade deficit.
Here is an excerpt from the latest report:
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that the goods and services deficit was $43.4 billion in December, up $1.1 billion from $42.2 billion in November, revised. December exports were $181.5 billion, $0.5 billion less than November exports. December imports were $224.9 billion, up $0.6 billion from November.
The December increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $1.3 billion to $62.5 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.1 billion to $19.2 billion. For 2015, the goods and services deficit was $531.5 billion, up $23.2 billion or 4.6 percent from 2014. Exports were $2,230.3 billion, down $112.9 billion or 4.8 percent. Imports were $2,761.8 billion, down $89.7 billion or 3.1 percent.
This series tends to be extremely volatile, so we use a six-month moving average. Today’s headline number of -43.36B was worse than the Investing.com forecast of -43.00B. The previous month was revised downward by 148M.
Here is a snapshot that gives a better sense of the extreme volatility of this indicator.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Jill Mislinski from Advisor Perspectives.