The US trade deficit shrank 5.6 per cent to a seasonally adjusted US$44.39 billion in May from April, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Exports increased 1 per cent to US$195.46 billion, the highest level on record. Imports fell 0.3 per cent to US$239.85 billion.
In Canada the May trade defecit slimmed to $152 million, from the revised C$961 million in the previous month, Statistics Canada said also Thursday.
Trade Data, Canada & US
Increased exports south of the border led to Canada’s trade surplus with the US widening in May to $4.8 billion from $4 billion previously, while the deficit with other countries narrowed slightly.
Total exports in the month rose 3.5 per cent to $44.17 billion with volumes up 4.2 per cent and prices down 0.7 per cent. Shipments of passenger cars and light trucks jumped 15.7 per cent, the most in nearly two years as production resumed following maintenance work at some factories. As a result, overall exports of motor vehicles and parts increased 9.8 per cent to $6.62 billion, the highest level since May 2007.
Exports of energy products were up 3.4 per cent to $10.9 billion due to increased shipments of refined petroleum as production at some refineries returned to normal after maintenance work.
Consumer goods exports rose 4.4 per cent to a record $4.76 billion, on the back of higher shipments of pharmaceutical and medical products and food, mainly red lentils and yellow peas.
Imports were up for the fourth consecutive month, rising 1.6 per cent to $44.32 billion as volumes rose 2.4 per cent and prices fell 0.8 per cent.
Imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals surged 44.5 per cent, reflecting increased purchases of gold bullion.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s Commerce data showed signs that demand is accelerating in two of America’s largest export markets, Europe and China, where weak growth has hobbled the US and global recoveries. Exports to the European Union were up nearly 4 per cent in May, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, driven by a surge in buying from the U.K., the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland.
Sales to China, where economists fear growth could continue to decelerate, were up more than 2 per cent to US$9.2 billion.
Petroleum played a large role in narrowing the May deficit. By one measure petroleum imports touched an 18-year low. Average daily imports of crude oil, 6.9 million barrels, were the lowest since March 1996. Meanwhile, U.S. petroleum exports hit the highest level of 2014.
When excluding petroleum, the trade gap expanded.