Last month imports surged in the wake of the West coast port strike settlement. This month imports declined, pretty much as expected.

Since exports add to GDP and imports subtract, second quarter GDP estimates get a lift.

Let’s take a peek inside today’s Census Bureau report on International Trade in Goods and Services for April.

Exports and Imports


  • The goods and services deficit was $40.9 billion in April, down $9.7 billion from $50.6 billion in March, revised.
  • Exports were $189.9 billion, $1.9 billion more than March exports.
  • Imports were $230.8 billion, $7.8 billion less than March imports.


  • The goods and services deficit increased $1.5 billion, or 0.9 percent, from the same period in 2014. Exports decreased $18.0 billion or 2.3 percent.
  • Imports decreased $16.5 billion or 1.8 percent.


  • The average goods and services deficit decreased $0.5 billion from the three months ending in April 2014
  • Average exports of goods and services decreased $4.9 billion from April 2014.
  • Average imports of goods and services decreased $5.4 billion from April 2014.

Trade Balance

Second Quarter GDP Gets Lift

Year-to-date the deficit increased slightly from the same period last year, and year-over-year the deficit decreased slightly.

Simply put, there is not a lot happening in the way of trade on a smoothed basis.

However, the month-to-month improvement was bigger than expected, so the second quarter GDP gets a lift in the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow Forecast.

“The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2015 was 1.1 percent on June 3, up from 0.8 percent on June 1. The nowcast for the contribution of net exports to second-quarter real GDP growth increased from -0.6 percentage point to -0.2 percentage point following this morning’s international trade report from the U.S. Census Bureau.”

Consumer spending and home building will drive the results for the rest of the quarter.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock