U.S Trade Gap Narrows, Jobless Claims Fall

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in August, reflecting an increase in exports and a downtick in imports as Hurricane Harvey disrupted shipping along the Gulf Coast.

The foreign-trade gap in goods and services narrowed -2.7% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted -$42.395B in August. The market had expected a trade deficit of -$42.7B.

Imports decreased -0.1% in August, and exports increased +0.4% from July.

August exports of goods and services reached the highest level since December 2014, and exports of services were the highest on record, not adjusted for inflation.

Weekly Claims Fall

The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell in late September, though recent hurricanes continued to disrupt economic activity in several regions.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S, declined by -12k to a seasonally adjusted +260k in the week ended Sept. 30.

The market had expected +270k new claims last week.

Note: Claims have surged in recent weeks due to job losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell