With the value of exports falling by more than the value of imports, the U.S. trade deficit widened in July but still came in much narrower than the expectations of most economists.
According to figures released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, the U.S. exported $183.3 billion worth of goods and services in July, compared to imports of $225.3 billion for the month.
The difference marks a trade deficit of $42.0 billion in July compared to the June trade deficit of $41.9 billion.
While slightly wider compared to the previous month, the trade deficit is much narrower than the $44.3 billion deficit projected by most economists, in part because of the revision of the June deficit figures from the $42.9 billion initially reported.
As a percentage measure, the changes are relatively minor, with the deficit widening by 0.2 percent as exports, a positive to the economy, fell by 1.0 percent, while imports fell at a slower 0.8 percent rate.
Exports of goods decreased at a faster rate than imports of goods, driving the U.S. goods deficit down by $200 million in July.
In the service sector, exports were virtually unchanged, while imports increased, leading to a decrease in the U.S. services surplus of $300 million for the month.
The monthly decrease in the exports of goods came largely in industrial supplies and materials, with automotive and consumer goods also contributing significantly.
Exports of foods, feeds and beverages as well as capital goods increased in July, but not at a level sufficient to compensate for the declines in other sectors.
Imports of industrial goods and capital goods fell in July, while the U.S. imported more automotive vehicles, parts and engines, consumer goods, and foods, feeds and beverages.
Partly as a result of a record $37.9 billion in imports from China, the U.S. trade deficit with the country widened to a record $29.4 billion from $27.4 billion in June.
Looking to other countries, the U.S. trade surpluses with Australia and Egypt widened in June, but surpluses with Hong Kong and Singapore narrowed.
U.S. trade deficits with the European Union, Japan, Canada, Korea, Taiwan and Venezuela all widened, while the U.S. deficit with Mexico declined.
The U.S. deficit with OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) decreased slightly to $8.4 million in July from the $8.5 billion recorded in June.
That change was likely affected by the price of oil, as July imports of petroleum - measured in dollar value and not volume - of $30.8 billion were the lowest since November 2010.
In the advanced technology sector, July exports fell by roughly $1 billion more than the decrease in imports, resulting in a deficit of $8.1 billion.
According to Commerce Department figures, the roughly $1 billion downward revision in the June trade deficit, from more comprehensive and updated data than was initially available, showed a significant, $700 million downward revision in the import of the "other private services" category.
Also contributing to the downward revision to the July deficit was a $100 million decrease in the import of goods and an upward revision of $200 million in exports of services.
by RTT Staff Writer
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