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According to the advance gross domestic product figures for the first quarter of 2018, all categories of U.S. exports and imports hit new all-time quarterly highs in inflation-adjusted terms and the real quarterly trade shortfall declined sequentially.

The real trade gap, though, was still the second highest annualized quarterly total ($645.9 billion) since the third quarter of 2007 ($703.2 billion) – just before the Great Recession began. Moreover, the constant dollar trade deficit’s 1.22 percent sequential drop-off resulted almost entirely from the greatest sequential slowdowns in the growth of total imports (80.95 percent) and goods imports (87.19 percent) since the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2009, respectively.

Trade continued in the first quarter of 2018 to subtract from cumulative real growth during the current economic recovery, the the drag diminished from the 9.82 percent figure for the fourth quarter of 2017 to 9.23 percent.

Here are the trade highlights from the Commerce Department’s report today on first quarter GDP growth:

>All categories of America’s exports and imports hit all-time highs in the first quarter of 2018 after inflation, according to the Commerce Department’s initial report on the new gross domestic product’s (GDP) growth for that period.

> Real exports totaled $2.2563 trillion on an annualized basis – 1.19 percent higher than the final (for now) level for the fourth quarter of last year, and American overseas sales’ fifth straight quarterly record.

>Real goods exports of $1.5722 trillion annualized topped the fourth quarter total by 1.49 percent – their fifth straight quarterly record as well.

>The first quarter constant dollar services export total of $688.3 billion was a 0.60 percent sequential improvement and a new record itself, but represented a rebound from the fourth quarter’s 0.35 percent sequential dip.

>On the import side, the United States’ total purchases from abroad came to $2.9022 trillion on an annualized basis – up 0.64 percent sequentially and their second straight quarterly record.

>But that growth rate contrasted dramatically with the 3.36 percent sequential increase in last year’s fourth quarter, and indeed was 80.95 percent slower.

>The goods imports total of $2.3985 trillion annualized represented this category’s second straight all-time quarterly high. Yet the 0.52 percent quarterly increase was 87.19 percent slower than the 4.06 percent quarterly rise in last year’s fourth quarter.

>In fact, both these slowdowns were the greatest since the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2009 – the latter a time when the Great Recession was bottoming. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the growth rate of total imports sank by 81.87 percent; in the first quarter of 2009, goods imports plunged sequentially at nearly double (87.63 percent) the rate that they fell in the third quarter.

>Real services imports reached $688.3 billion annualized in real terms in the first quarter, a 0.60 percent advance from the fourth quarter amount and a new record as well.

>The new GDP report revealed that trade remained a considerable drag on the U.S. economy’s after inflation expansion since the current recovery began. But the drag fell from the 9.82 percent of real growth cut by the trade deficit’s increase since the recovery began (in mid-2009), to 9.23 percent.

>In real absolute terms, this means that the trade deficit’s rise sliced cumulative recovery-era inflation-adjusted growth by $287.6 billion as of the fourth quarter of 2017, and by $279.6 billion as of the first quarter of 2018.

>The growth drag of the increase in the Made in Washington trade deficit – which focuses on the non-oil goods trade flows most heavily influenced by trade agreements and other trade policies – has been much greater during the recovery. But the exact numbers for the first quarter won’t be known until the March monthly trade data come out early next month.

>As of the fourth quarter of 2017, though, the increase in this trade deficit in real terms had reduced recovery growth by a 18.38 percent, or $538.81 billion