US: Imports to continue to outpace exports in the near-term – Wells Fargo

The US trade balance deficit reached a record of 71.1 billion in February, data released on Wednesday showed. Analysts at Wells Fargo explained that both exports and imports were weak during the month, but a larger decline in exports caused the deficit to widen.

Key Quotes: 

“Logistics and transportation bottlenecks are disrupting trade flows and adding to lengthy supplier delivery times. As congestion eases, we expect trade to pick up this year. But as the U.S. economic recovery is generally outpacing many of its major trading partners, we look for imports to continue to outpace exports in the near-term. Net exports will therefore provide a drag on GDP growth this year.”

“The U.S. trade balance widened to a record -$71.1 billion in February. Both exports and imports posted their first monthly decline since May, and although imports fell $1.7 billion, the overall trade deficit widened because exports nosedived $5.0 billion.”

“The February trade report added to the pile of weak U.S. economic data already reported for the month by domestic retailers, producers and home builders, as severe winter weather across the United States hampered activity and weighed on trade flows. But the supply chain constraints recently felt by many domestic producers are affecting trade even more.”

“Exports should pick up meaningfully later this year amid a rebound in global growth, but for the year as a whole, we expect net exports to subtract 1.6 percentage points from GDP growth.”

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