A preliminary report on international trade for the month of July showed the U.S.
The trade deficit in goods has narrowed slightly from February to May, and now appears to have two months in a row, although the data is preliminary and
Exports of goods dipped to $ 140 billion last month from $ 142.5 billion in June, while imports of goods rose to $ 212.2 billion, up from $ 210.4 billion in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, According to the Commerce Department's latest "Advance Economic Indicators" report, which provides an early and partial snapshot of trade and inventories data.
Exports face a number of headwinds that could contribute to a trade deficit for the rest of the third quarter
"Export growth is expected to be over the past few months, more or less modest global momentum, af in U.S. dollar, trade tariffs and trade policy uncertainty, said Oren Klachkin, lead economist for Oxford economics, in a note.
The preliminary data report is not a major economic indicator, but has been watched by some economists in recent months for two reasons: First, because of a narrowing of the trade deficit in the second quarter provided a lift to US GDP, which is at 4.1
Macroeconomic Adviser has reduced its estimate of GDP growth by 0.1 percentage point to 3.1% based on the report.
The report has thus been watched for any insight into whether Trump's trade actions are succeeding in reducing the US deficit.
The data may also be biased by factors like soybean exporters rushing to ship their crops to China and other locations prior to agricultural tariffs take effect. That movement could now be going into reverse.
Write to Joshua Zumbrun at Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com