Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

The government’s release yesterday of its first figures for third quarter 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) showed that trade – and especially a rise in exports – made its greatest relative contribution to U.S. inflation-adjusted growth (0.83 percentage points of the solid 2.87 percent annualized expansion) since the fourth quarter of 2013 (1.29 percentage points of that quarter’s 3.90 percent annualized real growth).

Record levels were recorded for total real exports and by goods and services exports. Combined price-adjusted goods and services sales overseas improved at the fastest sequential rate (2.42 percent) since the fourth quarter of 2013 (2.84 percent). The quarter to quarter growth of after-inflation goods exports per se, meanwhile, was the strongest (3.44 percent) since late 2013 as well (3.72 percent). The total third quarter real trade deficit of $522.9 billion was the lowest since the $524.9 billion recorded for the second quarter of 2015, and its sequential decrease (6.37 percent) was its greatest since the fourth quarter of 2013 (11.54 percent). Largely as a result of these improvements, trade’s drag on the current feeble economic recovery sank to a multi-year low of 6.67 percent.

Here are the trade highlights from yesterday morning’s GDP report:

>According to the U.S. government’s first official look at inflation-adjusted gross domestic product n the third quarter of 2016, the biggest absolute trade contribution to growth since the end of 2013 helped fuel a sequential expansion of the economy of 2.87 percent at an annualized rate – the fastest pace of growth since the third quarter of 2014 (4.87 percent).

>The 1.17 percentage points of real growth created by a shrinking U.S. goods and services trade deficit was the greatest such relative total since the fourth quarter of 2012), when trade accounted for 1.29 percent of its even stronger 3.90 percent price-adjusted improvement.

>Both combined goods and services exports and goods exports individually, reached all-time highs in the third quarter.

>Total after-inflation exports advanced by 2.42 percent sequentially, to $2.4624 trillion annualized. The increase was the biggest since the 2.84 percent rise in the fourth quarter of 2013.

>The real goods exports quarter-to-quarter rise of 3.44 percent (to $1.4793 trillion) was also the largest since that quarter (3.72 percent).

>Price-adjusted services exports rose only 0.53 percent on quarter, to $684.1 billion, but that was enough to set a new record as well.

>Total real U.S. imports grew sequentially in the third quarter by 0.58 percent, to $2.6853 billion – also an all-time high.

>Inflation-adjusted services imports rose even faster on quarter – by 2.13 percent – to their own record total of $473.3 billion.

>The actual constant dollar trade deficit for the third quarter was $522.9 billion – the lowest total since the $524.9 billion registered in the second quarter of 2015.

>Further, the sequential decrease of 6.37 percent was the biggest such drop since the fourth quarter of 2013 (11.54 percent).

>Thanks to the steep decline of the real trade deficit, trade has slowed the current American economic recovery by just 6.67 percent in cumulative terms, translating into $156.6 billion in lost growth in constant dollars. As of the second quarter, the trade drag was 8.63 percent.

>According to separate figures kept by the Census Bureau, however, the growth toll of the trade deficit heavily influenced by trade agreements and other trade policy decisions, is much greater. This Made in Washington deficit – in America’s non-oil goods trade – had cut cumulative recovery-era growth by 19.70 percent, or $439 billion in real terms, as of the second quarter. Third quarter figures will be available early next month.

>Constant-dollar goods imports rose from second quarters as well – by 0.23 percent – but the $2.1993 trillion level was 0.01 percent below the record $2.2014 trillion hit in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Advertisements