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The government’s revised figures for third quarter 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) showed that, as per the advance data, stronger exports trade helped trade make its greatest relative contribution to U.S. inflation-adjusted growth since the fourth quarter of 2012 (0.58 percentage points of that quarter’s 0.09 percent annualized growth). But trade’s positive role was reduced slightly. Instead of generating 1.17 percentage points of the solid 2.87 percent annualized expansion, trade’s new growth contribution was pegged at 0.87 percentage points out of 3.12 percent annualized growth.

Total real exports and goods and services exports remained at record levels. Their growth rates, moreover, were still the highest since the fourth quarter of 2013. The total third quarter after-inflation trade deficit was revised down from $522.9 billion annualized to $521 billion – the lowest level since that fourth quarter of 2013. This shortfall fell quarter to quarter at the fastest rate since then as well. As a result of these improvements, the trade drag on growth during the current economic recovery fell further – to a multi-year low of 6.56 percent.

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

>The U.S. government’s revised reading for inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2016 showed that trade still made its biggest relative contribution to economic growth since the end of 2010, but that this recovery-spurring role fell off from the results of the initial GDP report.

>Whereas trade’s growth contribution last month was pegged at 1.17 percentage points of a 2.87 percent annualized expansion, the new GDP figures showed that trade fueled 0.87 percentage points of 3.12 percent annualized growth.

>The latest growth contribution figure still stands as the greatest since the fourth quarter of 2012, when trade accounted for 0.58 percent of its negligible 0.09 percent price-adjusted improvement.

>This morning’s GDP report showed that in the third quarter, combined good and services exports rose a bit faster than estimated initially, meaning that they eclipsed the all-time records they set.

>Total after-inflation exports advanced by 2.44 percent sequentially, according to the new GDP data, to $2.1629 trillion at an annual rate. The quarterly growth rate was the highest since the 2.84 percent rise in the fourth quarter of 2013.

>These new figures compare with the original estimates of $2.1624 trillion annualized and 2.42 percent sequential growth.

>Inflation-adjusted goods exports in the third quarter are now judged to have hit $1.4783 trillion at an annual rate – a rise of 3.37 percent.

>Those figures are slightly lower than the $1.4793 trillion annualized and 3.44 percent increase reported in the initial third quarter GDP estimate, but are still the largest increases since the 3.72 percent achieved in the fourth quarter of 2013. In addition, the real goods export total is still a record high.

>After-inflation services exports increased by 0.72 percent sequentially in the third quarter, the GDP statistic now report, and reached $685.4 billion at an annual rate.

>That’s slightly better than the 0.53 percent advance and the record $684.1 billion annualized total previously reported.

>Total real U.S. imports grew more slowly in the third quarter than originally estimated, according to the new GDP figures.

>Last month’s 0.58 percent rise, to $2.6853 trillion annualized, was revised down to a 0.53 percent increase to $2.6839 trillion annualized. But the new level was still a new record.

>Real goods imports are now pegged at $2.1981 trillion annualized for the third quarter – slightly less than the $2.1993 trillion previously reported, and an increase of just 0.17 percent, as opposed to the 0.23 percent rise previously reported.

>But these increases still left real goods imports 0.15 percent below their all-time high – $2.2014 trillion annualized, during the fourth quarter of 2015.

>Inflation-adjusted services imports also rose slightly more slowly in the third quarter than reported last month.

>Rather than rising by 2.13 percent to their own record total of $483.3 billion annualized, they are now estimated as having increased by 2.09 percent to $483.1 billion – still a new record

>The new GDP figures also cut the estimate of the third quarter’s real total trade deficit from $522.9 billion annualized to $521 billion. That’s the best total since the $454 billion recorded for the fourth quarter of 2014.

>Moreover, the quarterly trade deficit decrease previously reported (6.37 percent), which was the biggest such drop since the fourth quarter of 2013 (11.54 percent), was revised down to 6.71 percent.

>Thanks to the steep decline of the real trade deficit, trade has slowed the current American economic recovery by just 6.56 percent in cumulative terms, translating into $154.7 billion in lost growth in constant dollars. As of the second quarter, the trade drag was 8.63 percent, and the previous third quarter estimate was 6.67 percent.

>Yet according to separate figures kept by the Census Bureau, 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 – comprised of America’s non-oil goods trade – had cut cumulative recovery-era growth by 16.05 percent, or $378.23 billion in real terms, as of the third quarter. .

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