Trade Gap Shrinks as Oil Exports Rise

February 17, 2014

The U.S. trade deficit in 2013 was the smallest since 2009, says Bloomberg.

Last year, the trade gap dropped from $534.7 billion in 2012 to $471.5 billion. Rising petroleum exports are largely responsible, though more than just fuel was exported. Foreign demand for American food, capital equipment, cars and other consumer goods also jumped up last year.

  • Petroleum exports rose 10.9 percent last year, up to $137 billion, a record number. Petroleum imports, on the other hand, fell to a three-year low of $369.3 billion (an 11 percent drop).
  • In January, shipments of foreign crude oil fell down to 7.34 million barrels a day, the lowest since March of 1998.
  • For 11 weeks in a row, domestic crude production has been above 8 million barrels a day. In the week ending January 10, production was at 8.16 million barrels per day, the highest since July of 1988.
  • As liquefied natural gas terminals are constructed (the Obama administration has approved permits for five of these terminals, the first of which could be operational at the end of 2015), energy exports are likely to continue to increase.

In the fourth quarter, the U.S. economy as a whole expanded at a 3.2 percent annual rate, resulting in 1.9 percent growth for the full year. The smaller trade gap was responsible for 0.14 percent of that total growth.

Source: Jeanna Smialek, "Trade Gap Shrank in 2013 as U.S. Fuel Exports Climbed: Economy," Bloomberg, February 6, 2014.

 

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