International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, May 2020

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the goods and services deficit was $54.6 billion in May, up $4.8 billion from $49.8 billion in April, revised.

U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Deficit
Deficit: $54.6 Billion +9.7%°
Exports: $144.5 Billion -4.4%°
Imports: $199.1 Billion -0.9%°

Next release: August 5, 2020

(°) Statistical significance is not applicable or not measurable. Data adjusted for seasonality but not price changes

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, July 2, 2020

Goods and Services Trade Deficit: Seasonally adjusted
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on May 2020 International Trade in Goods and Services

The declines in exports and imports that continued in May were, in part, due to the impact of COVID-19, as many businesses were operating at limited capacity or ceased operations completely, and the movement of travelers across borders was restricted. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the trade statistics for May because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis have monitored data quality and determined estimates in this release meet publication standards. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 on the statistics, see the frequently asked questions on goods from the Census Bureau and on services from BEA.

Exports, Imports, and Balance (exhibit 1)

May exports were $144.5 billion, $6.6 billion less than April exports. May imports were $199.1 billion, $1.8 billion less than April imports.

The May increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $4.2 billion to $76.1 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.6 billion to $21.5 billion.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $22.3 billion, or 9.1 percent, from the same period in 2019. Exports decreased $148.3 billion or 14.0 percent. Imports decreased $170.6 billion or 13.1 percent.

Three-Month Moving Averages (exhibit 2)

The average goods and services deficit increased $6.6 billion to $48.9 billion for the three months ending in May.

  • Average exports decreased $22.4 billion to $161.9 billion in May.
  • Average imports decreased $15.8 billion to $210.8 billion in May.

Year-over-year, the average goods and services deficit decreased $0.9 billion from the three months ending in May 2019.

  • Average exports decreased $49.8 billion from May 2019.
  • Average imports decreased $50.7 billion from May 2019.

Exports (exhibits 3, 6, and 7)

Exports of goods decreased $5.5 billion to $90.0 billion in May.

  Exports of goods on a Census basis decreased $5.6 billion.

  • Industrial supplies and materials decreased $3.9 billion.
    • Other petroleum products decreased $1.6 billion.
    • Crude oil decreased $0.7 billion.
    • Fuel oil decreased $0.6 billion.
  • Capital goods decreased $0.9 billion.
    • Semiconductors decreased $0.4 billion.
    • Computer accessories decreased $0.3 billion.

  Net balance of payments adjustments increased $0.1 billion.

Exports of services decreased $1.1 billion to $54.5 billion in May.

  • Other business services decreased $0.6 billion.
  • Financial services decreased $0.2 billion.
  • Charges for the use of intellectual property decreased $0.2 billion.

Imports (exhibits 4, 6, and 8)

Imports of goods decreased $1.3 billion to $166.0 billion in May.

  Imports of goods on a Census basis decreased $1.0 billion.

  • Automotive vehicles, parts, and engines decreased $4.4 billion.
    • Passenger cars decreased $3.0 billion.
    • Automotive parts and accessories decreased $0.6 billion.
    • Trucks, buses, and special purpose vehicles decreased $0.4 billion.
  • Capital goods decreased $0.6 billion.
    • Computers decreased $0.4 billion.
  • Industrial supplies and materials increased $2.3 billion.
    • Nonmonetary gold increased $1.2 billion.
    • Finished metal shapes increased $1.2 billion.
  • Consumer goods increased $1.9 billion.
    • Other textile apparel and household goods increased $1.8 billion.
    • Cell phones and other household goods increased $1.2 billion.

  Net balance of payments adjustments decreased $0.3 billion.

Imports of services decreased $0.5 billion to $33.1 billion in May.

  • Charges for the use of intellectual property decreased $0.2 billion.
  • Other business services decreased $0.1 billion.
  • Travel decreased $0.1 billion.
  • Financial services decreased $0.1 billion.

Real Goods in 2012 Dollars – Census Basis (exhibit 11)

The real goods deficit increased $6.0 billion to $86.5 billion in May.

  • Real exports of goods decreased $6.7 billion to $106.8 billion.
  • Real imports of goods decreased $0.7 billion to $193.3 billion.

Goods by Selected Countries and Areas: Monthly – Census Basis (exhibit 19)

The May figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($1.9), Brazil ($0.4), OPEC ($0.4), United Kingdom ($0.2), and Hong Kong ($0.1). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($27.9), European Union ($12.7), Mexico ($4.2), Germany ($3.9), Japan ($3.2), Taiwan ($2.6), South Korea ($1.9), Singapore ($1.6), Italy ($1.4), Canada ($1.2), France ($1.1), India ($0.7), and Saudi Arabia ($0.1).

  • The deficit with China increased $1.9 billion to $27.9 billion in May. Exports increased $0.7 billion to $10.0 billion and imports increased $2.7 billion to $37.9 billion.
  • The surplus with members of OPEC decreased $1.0 billion to $0.4 billion in May. Exports decreased $0.5 billion to $2.4 billion and imports increased $0.5 billion to $2.1 billion.
  • The deficit with the European Union decreased $1.6 billion to $12.7 billion in May. Exports decreased $1.0 billion to $14.9 billion and imports decreased $2.6 billion to $27.6 billion.

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