Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trade Deficit

This following chart was corrected on 10/21/07. The corrected version can be found here.

Trade Deficit Shows Slight Decline
"Today's numbers clearly show the positive impact of exports and trade on the American economy," said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who on Wednesday will head a congressional delegation on a four-day trip to Panama, Peru and Colombia to build support for passage of the trade deals.

The following chart shows just how "clear" the positive impact of our exports has become (and I say that with a maximum level of sarcasm). The chart shows the dollar amount of our exports divided by the total amount of trade (our exports plus our imports). The 2007 data point is from the press release today (July 2007 data).

Yes sir, 2007 is shaping up to be a banner year for the getting "something for nothing" department (of commerce). On the other hand, heckling has become as easy as shooting fish in a barrel (of oil).

Source Data:

U.S. International Transactions, 1960-present

Today's Press Release


Detroit Dan said...

Excellent graph. So even though the headlines are trumpeting a boffo increase in exports, the trend has really turned around?

Stagflationary Mark said...


In 2006:

We exported $2.096 trillion in goods and services. We imported $2.818 trillion in goods and services.

2.096 / (2.096+2.818) = 42.66%

In July 2007 (today's press release):

We exported $137.7 billion in goods and services. We imported $196.9 billion in goods and services.

137.7 / (137.7 + 196.9) = 41.1%

Feel free to double check my figures with the data (and I would encourage it as it never hurts to have another set of eyes looking at it).

I'm not inclined to think that's much of an improvement over last year. Further, I think you can agree that if one goes back in time there seems to be a rather steady trend.

Stagflationary Mark said...

I probably should add that if this fairly linear trend continues, it might be prudent to start learning Chinese at some point. Just a hunch.

Detroit Dan said...

Thanks Mark. I just read your response. That's a fascinating point you make. I really like your blog and am glad that you reference it from Calculated Risk...

Stagflationary Mark said...

Hey Dan,

I'm glad you find the information useful. It was Calculated Risk that inspired me to do my own blog. I very much value the information they offer.

Anonymous said...

A zen koan:

What is a $ that cannot buy cheap crap worth?

Stagflationary Mark said...

Great question! I'm game.

Which is best: rock, paper, or scissors?