The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce reported this week that the US trade deficit rose 5.4%, from $26.1 billion in February 2009 to $27.6 billion in March 2009, writes Retailer Daily.
Total US exports of goods and services in March 2009 were $123.6 billion and imports were $151.2 billion. Exports dropped to $123.6 billion from $126.6 billion in February 2009, a 2.3% decline, and imports dropped to $151.2 billion from $152.8 billion in February 2009, a 1% drop, BEA said.
Of particular interest to retailers, exports of goods decreased from $84.5 billion in February 2009 to $82 billion in March 2009, a 2.9% drop, and imports of goods decreased from $121.6 billion in February 2009 to $120.3 billion in March 2009, a 1% drop.
Monthly declines in exports of specific goods categories included $200 million in automobile vehicles, parts and engines; and $1.7 billion in capital goods. Exports of consumer goods decreased $500 million and exports of other goods decreased $200 million. Meanwhile, exports of foods, feeds and beverages increased $200 million and exports of industrial supplies and materials increased $100 million.
On the import side, monthly imports of automobile vehicles, parts and engines and of foods, feeds and beverages were virtually unchanged. Imports of consumer goods increased $300 million. Imports of industrial supplies and materials decreased $700 million, imports of capital goods decreased $500 million, and imports of other goods decreased $400 million
For the three months ending in March, exports of goods and services averaged $125 billion, while imports of goods and services averaged $155 billion, resulting in an average trade deficit of $30 billion.? For the three months ending in February, the average trade deficit was $34.1 billion, reflecting average exports of $128 billion and average imports of $162 billion.
Recent news on the health of the retail industry and overall US economy has been mixed. Positive economic developments include a significant jump in the Consumer Confidence Index and slow but steady growth in the Restaurant Performance Index. On the negative side, US retail and food services sales declined slightly in April 2009, US unemployment rose, the Employment Trends Index went down, and the US GDP (gross domestic product) continued contracting in Q1 2009.