The nation’s goods gap widened sharply in January, to $69.2 billion which is well beyond December’s revised $64.4 billion and outside Econoday’s low estimate. Imports of consumer goods and also vehicles are once again the source of the trade mismatch, surging 4.8 percent and 2.9 percent respectively and helping to lift total imports by 2.3 percent. Exports fell 0.3 percent with weakness in capital goods, down a very sharp 4.6 percent, the unwanted standout feature, one that may deepen in the months ahead based on yesterday’s durable goods report where related orders proved weak. This report will be bringing down early first-quarter GDP estimates.
Trade in Goods by Category
Consumer goods account for 26.6% of imports. In January, consumer goods imports rose 4.8%. Thus, consumer goods accounted for over half of the 2.3% increase in imports.
Exports look anemic, especially capital goods exports.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock