Friday, July 11, 2008

In May 2008 exports up a healthy 0.9 percent

Bottom Line no marked slowdown in the US economy according to US trade data released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. In general exports are outpacing imports by a small margin helping to shrink the trade deficit. Both exports and imports remained strong in the month of May 2008. Not surprisingly imports and trade deficit from OPEC countries Saudi Arabia and Venezuela continued to increase. Imports from NICS (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) were at $45.38 billion in January to May 2008 period, down slightly from the same period a year ago at $46.04 billion (the numbers are n.s.a.). With all other major trading partners import-growth remained positive this year compared to last year. The largest trade deficit with a single nation was with China at $96 billion YTD.

Real imports chain-weighted in U.S. dollars were down in May 2008 which points towards a mild slowdown in the domestic economy. The total census basis of $133.69 billion was down from $136.14 billion in April 2008 and down from $136.87 billion in May 2007. Most of this decline in imports is due to the category "Residual" which was a negative $4.92 billion in May 2008 and only a negative $1.9 billion in May 2007. The Census Bureau defines this category as the difference between total imports and the sum of the components in the table. The major import categories, capital goods and consumer goods, actually increased slightly on a monthly and yearly basis.

Real exports chain-weighted in U.S. dollars remained vibrant in May 2008 at $90.1 billion compared to $81.6 billion in May 2007. That bodes well for the global economy which remained strong and healthy in the month of May. Real exports in May 2008 for capital goods were at $39.5 billion compared to $40.1 billion in April 2008, and for consumer goods at $12.2 billion the same as in April 2008. Real exports were up across all categories compared to same month last year.

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Among EA countries Ireland saw a marked decline in U.S. exports $812 million to $528 million from April to May 2008. Exports to Switzerland declined from $2.3 billion to $1.79 billion, exports remained stable to Germany, Italy, Spain and France in the same time period.

See the full report here.

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U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, May 2008

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