The first trade surplus in petroleum in more than forty years helped the U.S. post a lower trade deficit in September compared to August, but overall U.S. exports and imports in all sectors also declined as trade spats, tariffs, and slowing global growth weighed on trade.
For the first time since 1978, the U.S. recorded a surplus in the petroleum trade, at US$252 million in September, government data showed on Tuesday. The value of petroleum exports stood at US$14.966 billion, while imports were at US$14.714 billion. Both exports and imports in petroleum products in September were lower than in August, which also contributed to the first surplus in the oil trade in 41 years.
The total American deficit in international trade of goods and services fell to US$52.45 billion in September from US$55.036 billion in August, with both imports and exports lower in September than in August.
Year to date, the largest trade deficit in goods for the U.S. was with China, at US$263.2 billion, and China was the top country from which America imported goods in the first nine months of 2019, U.S. trade data showed. China was the third-largest U.S. trade partner behind Mexico and Canada.
As part of the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, the two largest economies in the world are considering rolling back some of the tariffs to reach some kind of an initial agreement in the trade spat, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Reports of positive developments in the trade talks sent oil prices rising by more than 1 percent at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, with WTI Crude up 1.13 percent at US$57.18. Related: Dreams Of An Aramco IPO Are Fading Fast
Meanwhile, growing U.S. crude oil production and exports have resulted in America selling oil to more destinations around the world than the number of countries from which it imports crude oil.
Between January and July 2019, the largest number of sources of America’s oil imports fell to 27 in any of those months, the EIA has estimated. On the other hand, the number of destinations for U.S. crude oil exports rose, with exports to as many as 31 destinations per month in the first seven months this year.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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