Can We Talk About the Trade Deficit? | Beat the Press

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Economy

Saturday, 07 March 2015 08:58

Dean Baker

The answer appears to be no, given the lack of news coverage. Anyhow, the Commerce Department released data on the January trade deficit yesterday. The nominal numbers were good, with a drop in the deficit from $45.6 billion to $41.8 billion, but this decline was driven mostly by lower prices for imported oil.

If we look at the deficit measured in constant dollars (i.e. adjusted for inflation), it rose by almost $3 billion compared to the average monthly deficit for the prior quarter. On annual basis, this would imply an increase of close to $36 billion. If February and March produce similar numbers (the data are erratic), the trade numbers would shave more than 0.6 percentage points off growth for the first quarter. This one should have been worth at least a mention in the business pages.

via Can We Talk About the Trade Deficit? | Beat the Press.

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