US Economic Indicators: Trade Deficit Declines 1%; Wholesale Trade Jumps 1%

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly declined 1% in November to $58.2 billion, the smallest since July 2005 as exports reached a record and oil imports declined, reports the Department of Commerce. 

That total November exports of $124.8 billion and imports of $183.0 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $58.2 billion, $0.6 billion less than the $58.8 billion in October. 

  • In November, the goods deficit decreased $0.3 billion from October to $64.7 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.2 billion to $6.5 billion. 
  • The trade deficit was down $5.8 billion from November 2005. Exports were up $14.8 billion, or 13.4%, and imports were up $9.0 billion, or 5.2%.
  • The November figures showed surpluses, in billions of dollars, with Singapore $1.0 ($0.3 for October), and Hong Kong $0.9 ($0.7). 
  • Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China $22.9 ($24.4), Europe $10.7 ($11.4), the European Union $9.5 ($9.5), Japan $7.9 ($8.3), OPEC $6.8 ($7.5), Mexico $5.4 ($5.2), Canada $5.4 ($5.5), Korea $1.2 ($1.4), Taiwan $1.1 ($1.3), and Brazil $0.4 ($0.6). 

In the first 11 months of 2006 the deficit with China surged to $213.5 billion from $185.3 billion in the same time a year earlier.

Advanced technology products (ATP) exports were $22.8 billion in November and imports were $27.2 billion, resulting in a deficit of $4.5 billion. 

U.S. Wholesale Trade:

November 2006 sales of merchant wholesalers were $331.3 billion, up 1.0% from last month and End-of-month inventories were $396.7 billion, up 1.3% from last month, according to the Commerce Department.

  • Compared to last month, sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies were up 5.0% and sales of electrical and electronic goods increased 2.9%. 
  • November sales of nondurable goods were up 0.7% from last month and were up 8.1% from last year. 
  • Compared to last month, sales of petroleum and petroleum products increased 5.7 percent and sales of beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverages increased 2.4 percent.

The November inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.20. The November 2005 ratio was 1.17.

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