NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows in February

April 3, 2015

The U.S. trade gap in February shrank to its lowest level since October 2009, reflecting a sharper drop in imports than exports.

  • The trade deficit narrowed to a seasonally adjusted $35.44 billion in February. January's deficit was revised to $42.68 billion from an initially reported $41.75 billion.
  • Exports decreased 1.6 percent from January to $186.25 billion, while imports fell 4.4 percent to $221.69 billion. That was the largest drop in imports since the recession ended in 2009.
  • Last month, the trade deficit for petroleum products fell to $8.1 billion, its lowest level since July 2002.
  • Non-petroleum imports were $162.4 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from January's $169.7 billion.
  • Exports of goods fell in February to $125.6 billion. Much of the decline was in industrial supplies and cars.

Tightening of the trade deficit likely reflects a variety of factors, including the strengthening U.S. dollar, the sharp drop in oil prices, disruptions related to a labor dispute at West Coast ports and the relative strength of the U.S. economy.

Stimulus programs in the European Union and Japan were helping drive up the dollar, which could weigh on U.S. growth by lowering American exports. But to the extent these policies succeed in improving the outlook in trade partners, faster growth abroad is a plus for the United States.

Source: Kate Davidson, Eric Morath, "U.S. Trade Gap Narrows in February," Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2015.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues