U.S. exports decline as consequence of economic uncertainty

Today’s report showed that U.S. exports of goods and services in June 2011 decreased 2.3 percent from May 2011 to $170.9 billion

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President Obama’s “National Export Initiative” of doubling exports by 2015 took a significant hit today, with the release of new figures by the Department of Commerce.

Today’s report showed that U.S. exports of goods and services in June 2011 decreased 2.3 percent from May 2011 to $170.9 billion. 

The monthly export value for U.S. consumer goods ($15.0 billion) was the highest on record.  U.S. imports of goods and services decreased 0.8 percent over this period to $223.9 billion, causing the U.S. trade deficit to increase 4.4 percent since May 2011 to reach $53.1 billion in June 2011. U.S. goods and services exports in the first half of 2011 are up 15.8 percent to $1,027.9 billion from the $887.6 billion in exports in first half of 2010.

“Exports remain a driving force in our economy,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Although numbers in June were lower than we’d hoped, exports have grown at a steady pace for the first half of this year, posting 15.8 percent growth over last year.”

As reported in LM, California’s exporters have been especially busy so far.

According to Blank, U.S. shippers “are on pace” to meet the President’s initiative, but she also allowed that “we are at a fragile time in the world economy.

Gregory Daco, principal U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight, agreed, noting that the international trade report for June was in line with the general view of a global slowdown.

He noted that both export and import volumes fell, with exports taking the biggest tumble. Weak foreign demand for industrial and capital goods were the most visible “culprits,” but even consumer goods exports posted only a meager 1.0 percent gain when excluding gem diamonds, jewelry, and pharmaceuticals (they grew 5.2 percent with these included). Automotive exports also posted a slim gain.

“Shippers won’t be suddenly reconfiguring their supply chains, however. Exports will continue to grow, but at a reduced velocity.”

In an interview with SCMR – a sister publication – he said the President’s export objective is “realistic.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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