The U.S. trade deficit dropped in September from $44.9 billion in August to $43.1, the Commerce Department reported. September exports, at $180.4 billion, were $2.5 billion more than in August, while imports were $0.7 billion more than the previous month.
The goods deficit decreased in September $2 billion from August to $58.9 billion, while the services surplus decreased $0.2 billion to $15.8 billion. Exports of goods increased $2.6 billion to $129.3 billion, and imports of goods increased $0.6 billion to $188.2 billion. Exports of services decreased $0.1 billion to $51.1 billion, and imports of services increased $0.1 billion to $35.3 billion.
The September-to-September goods and services deficit decreased $0.9 billion. Exports were up almost 16 percent to $24.7 billion, and imports increased nearly 12 percent to $23.8 billion.
The August to September increase in good exports was led by industrial supplies and materials ($1.4 billion), consumer goods ($0.8 billion), automotive vehicles, parts and engins ($0.2 billion) and capital goods ($0.1 billion). Foods, feeds and beverages were virtually unchanged.
The increase in imports of goods in this period reflected increases in industrial supplies and materials ($0.9 billion, automotive vehiclkes, parts and engines ($0.5 billion) and foods, feeds and beverages ($0.2 billion).
Year-to-year figures for September saw an increase in the exports of industrial supplies and materials ($11.8 billion), capital goods ($3.9 billion), automotive vehicles, parts and engines ($1.8 billion), consumer goods ($1.5 billion) and foods, feeds and beverages ($0.9 billion).
Imports of oil edged up 0.3 percent to $36.4 billion. The average price for a barrel of oil dropped to $101.02 in September, the fourth consecutive monthly decline, but still above a year ago when a barrel of crude averaged $72.33.
Chinese imports fell from $37.4 billion in August to $36.4 billion, narrowing the trade deficit with that country to $28.1 billion. This is the third highest deficit recorded, and it is on track to set a record as the highest trade imbalance the U.S. has ever recorded with a single country, the Associated Press reports.
Other deficits were recorded with Japan ($5.2 billion), Mexico ($5 billion), Germany ($4.3 billion), and Canada ($3.5 billion). The September figures show trade surpluses with Hong Kong ($4.3 billion), Australia ($1.4 billion), Singapore ($1.3 billion) and Egypt ($0.1 billion).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.