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The government’s third and final (for now) figures for fourth quarter and full-year 2016 gross domestic product (GDP) revealed that the U.S. real trade deficit recorded its biggest quarterly increase since these figures have been tracked (15.86 percent). Worse, trade took its greatest absolute toll on inflation-adjusted quarterly growth (1.82 percent out of a 2.06 percent annualized increase) since the second quarter of 2004 (1.84 percent out of a 2.93 percent annualized increase).

The new GDP report also showed that, from quarter to quarter, the cumulative trade drag on the current, feeble American recovery rose from 6.57 percent to 9.71 percent. Separate Census figures show that, through 2016, the growth of the Made in Washington trade shortfall (which strips out energy and services) slowed growth by almost twice as much (17.64 percent).

The record fourth quarter real trade deficit per se was revised up from a record $599.6 billion annualized to $605 billion – and remained the biggest such gap since the first quarter of 2008, in the aftermath of the recession’ onset. Meanwhile, the annual 2016 trade deficit was revised up from $561.6 billion to $563 billion – the highest total since 2007.

Quarterly services exports after inflation were revised down from a record $685.5 billion annualized to a non-record $683.8 billion, but the import figure was revised up to set a new record – $485.1 billion annualized. Quarterly total imports and goods import totals were revised up from newly set records – to $2.7424 trillion and $2.2549 trillion annualized, respectively.

All annual real import categories saw previously reported annual record totals revised higher. Annual combined goods and services exports remained at all-time highs, but were revised down slightly to $2.1282 trillion annualized. All annual import categories, which set new quarterly records in late 2016, saw those numbers revised higher – to $2.6912 trillion for combined goods and services imports; to $2.2101 trillion for goods imports; and to $478.7 billion for services imports.

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

>The new and final (pending the next benchmark revision) fourth quarter and full-year 2016 GDP report made clear that the end of last year saw an even worse American trade performance – dominated by the wrong kinds of records and multi-year worsts – than reported in the previous estimate. And the main victim was the U.S. economy and its still-feeble recovery.

>The sequential jump in the inflation-adjusted trade deficit was revised upward from 14.82 percent to 15.86 percent – the worst such deterioration since the Commerce Department began presenting this figure in 1999.

>As a result, the bite taken by the real trade deficit’s latest sequential growth (1.82 percentage points out of a 2.06 percent annualized real expansion) was the biggest in absolute terms since the second quarter of 2004, when trade subtracted 1.84 percentage points from annualized growth of 2.93 percent.

>The new figures mean that as of the end of 2016, trade had reduced the U.S. economy’s real cumulative growth during the current recovery by 9.71 percent, or $238.7 billion. As of the end of the third quarter, the drag was 6.57 percent.

>Separate figures from the Census Bureau show much greater damage has been inflicted on the economy by a different set of U.S. trade flows – constant-dollar imports and exports minus energy and services, which have not been significantly affected by American trade agreements and similar policy decisions. The rapid growth of the inflation-adjusted American trade deficit stripping out these two sectors – which has been Made in Washington – has slowed cumulative U.S. growth during this recovery by fully 17.64 percent, or $433.43 billion.

>The fourth quarter after-inflation trade deficit was revised up from $599.6 billion annualized to $605 billion – still the highest such total since the first quarter of 2008 ($623.7 billion), shortly after the Great Recession began.

>The full-year 2016 trade deficit was revised up from $561.6 billion after inflation to $563 billion. That represented the highest annual real trade deficit since 2007 ($712.6 billion) – the last pre-recession year – and a 3.68 percent rise from 2015’s $540 billion.

>This morning’s trade figures showed that one real export record reported in the previous GDP estimate is now gone: Quarterly price-adjusted services exports were revised down from $685.5 billion to $683.8 billion – still the third best total on record.

>Unfortunately, after-inflation services imports hit their own new all-time high, as their fourth quarter total was revised up from $483.9 billion annualized to $485.1 billion.

>New quarterly records reported in the previous estimate for two import categories – total imports and goods imports – were both revised even higher this morning. The former total increased from $2.7935 trillion annualized to $2.7424 trillion, while the latter were upgraded from $2.2533 trillion annualized to $2.2549 trillion.

>Annually, inflation-adjusted 2016 goods and services exports remained at a record, as reported in the previous GDP estimate. But the figure was revised down slightly from $2.1399 trillion to $2.1282 trillion. As a result, the annual increase is now 0.36 percent.

>New records were augmented in all import categories. Combined goods and services imports were judged this morning to be $2.6912 trillion instead of $2.6901 trillion. As a result, the 2016 annual increase was 1.15 percent.

>Real goods imports in 2016 were revised up from $2.2097 trillion to $2.2101 trillion. As a result, the annual increase was 0.73 percent.

>Real services imports last year are now pegged at $478.7 billion, not $478.3 billion. As a result, the annual increase was 3.08 percent.

>Estimates were also raised for the real trade deficit’s share of the economy. Previously estimated at 3.57 percent of real GDP for the fourth quarter, the new figure is now 3.60 percent. That’s the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008 (3.64 percent).

>For all of 2016, the real trade deficit is now judged to be 3.38 percent instead of 3.37 percent. That’s the highest level since 2008 (3.76 percent).

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