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Members of D.A. Davidson & Co.

The Trade Deficit in Goods and Services

"Trade data [has] received extra attention of late from pundits looking to play up trade war impacts, ...Looking at that data, US trade hit a new record all-time high in September – the opposite of what we would expect in a trade war. ...Exports of soybeans, which have been given lots of attention as they have been targeted by Chinese tariffs were down again in September.  Year-to-date however, soybean exports are up nearly 30% compared to last year, suggesting farmers are finding other markets.  Overall, in the past year exports are up 7.2%, while imports are up 9.8%, signaling very healthy gains in the overall volume of international trade and easily outstripping the pace of nominal GDP growth.  While many are worried about protectionism from Washington, we continue to think this is a trade skirmish, and the odds of an all-out trade war that noticeably hurts the US economy are slim. Most likely, what will ultimately come from all the chaos will be better trade agreements for the United States (like the updated NAFTA deal recently struck with Canada and Mexico).  The US's negotiating position simply continues to strengthen, in no small part due to the rise of the US as an energy powerhouse."


(The Trade Deficit in Goods and Services came in at $54.0 Billion in September dated 11/2/2018 by Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist, and Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist, with First Trust Advisors LP)