May 13, 2019

U.S. Trade Deficit Expands, Canada’s Narrows


  • The U.S. goods and services trade deficit increased to $50 billion in March, up $0.7 billion from $49.3 billion in February. March exports were $212 billion, $2.1 billion more than February exports while imports were $262 billion, $2.8 billion more than in February. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit fell $5.8 billion, or 3.7 percent. The U.S. trade deficit with China was at a five-year low ($20.7 billion) in April. In the first quarter of 2019, the U.S. goods deficit with China was around $80 billion, a decline of 12.2 percent from the first quarter of 2018. Falling exports and imports contributed to the decline, with U.S. exports to China reaching $26 billion (down 18.8 percent year over year) and U.S. imports totaling $106 billion (down 13.9 percent year over year). China, meanwhile, reported earlier last week that April exports to the United States declined 13.1 percent from April 2018. The decline was the most significant since 2009.
  • According to Statistics Canada, the country’s the trade deficit narrowed from $3.4 billion in February to $3.2 billion in March. That figure was worse than analysts’ estimates of $2.45 billion. Exports rose 3.2 percent March, led by increased energy exports, while imports rose just 2.5 percent.
  • Employment in Canada rose by 107,000 in April and the unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 percent. On a year over year basis, employment grew 426,000 (2.3 percent), with gains in both full-time (248,000) and part-time (179,000) work.
  • According to the U.S. Labor Department, 228,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended May 4, down from 230,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, and so did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That figure rose to 1.684 million for the week that ended April 27 from 1.671 million the week before. The four-week moving average of claims declined, however.
  • In other employment-related news: the U.S. Labor Department also announced that there were 5 million jobs open in the United States during the month of April.
  • In other economic news: real average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees decreased 0.1 percent from March 2019 to April 2019; the U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 from March 2019 to April 2019 and two percent from April 2018 to April 2019; and the U.S. Producer Price Index rose 0.2 percent from March 2019 to April 2019 and 2.2 percent for the 12 months ended in April.