US February exports of goods and services totaled $190.4 billion, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), part of the US Commerce Department, announced on Thursday. Imports reached $237.1 billion, resulting in a goods and services deficit of $42.3 billion, compared to a $39.3 billion deficit in January.
Analysts say the fall in US February exports occurred amid weak demand abroad, which will have a negative effect on the country’s first quarter GDP (gross domestic product) growth.
The export surge that helped boost US GDP growth in the last quarter of 2013 is probably unsustainable, say analysts. While Chinese economic expansion is slowing down, the European Union’s economic recovery remains sluggish and fragile, which does not bode well for demand for US exports.
Exports in February were $2 billion lower than in January ($192.5 billion), while February imports exceeded January’s ($231.7 billion) by $1 billion.
The goods deficit grew by $2.2 billion in February, compared to January, to $61.7 billion, while the surplus in services declined by $0.8 billion to $19.4 billion.
Goods exports fell $2 billion to $131.7 billion, while goods imports rose $0.2 billion to $193.4 billion.
Services exports totaled $58.7 billion in February, virtually the same as January’s figure, while services imports grew $0.8 billion to $39.3 billion.
The deficit of goods and services year-on-year fell by $1 billion in February 2014. Exports rose 1.9%, or $3.6 billion, and imports increased 1.1%, or $2.6 billion.
(Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)
US February exports and imports – Goods
The following goods registered falling exports in February compared to January:
- Industrial supplies and materials – $2.7 billion.
- Capital Goods – $0.9 billion.
The following goods registered rising exports in February vs. January:
- Consumer goods – $1.2 billion.
- Other goods – $0.6 billion.
- Automotive vehicles, parts and engines – $0.1 billion.
- Beverages, foods and feeds remained virtually unchanged.
The following goods registered declining imports in February compared to January:
- Capital goods – $1.2 billion.
- Industrial supplies and materials – $0.3 billion.
- Foods, feeds and beverages – $0.1 billion.
The following goods registered an increase in imports in February vs. January:
- Automotive vehicle, parts and engines – $0.9 billion.
- Capital goods – $0.4 billion.
- Other goods – $0.1 billion.
- Beverages, food and feeds remained virtually the same.
US February exports and imports – Services
Services exports remained largely unchanged in February compared to January. There was a $0.1 billion increase in other private services exports, which includes license fees and royalties, financial services, technical and professional services, and businesses services. This was offset by a decline of $0.2 billion in passenger fares. Other category changes were relatively small.
Services imports rose by $0.8 billion, which was driven by a $0.8 billion rise in royalties in license fees. There was a $0.1 billion decrease in other transportation. Other category changes were not statistically significant.
Year-on-year, services exports in February rose by 5.5% , or $3 billion, while imports increased by 6.7%, or $2.5 billion.
US GDP growth revised down
The US February export-import report reduced most economists’ estimates for Q1 2014 economic growth, which had already been revised down after the unusually harsh winter weather tempered the economy.
Economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have lowered their forecasts for first quarter growth to 0.6% (annualized) from 1.2%.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Girard, an RBS economist, said “On balance, then, you are looking at a pretty soft first-quarter print (on GDP growth).”
Video – US trade deficit widens in February