Net Exports (from NIPA accounts)

Importance: **

Definition: Net exports account for the balance or about 13% of the GDP. They are equal to the difference between exports and imports of goods and services. Net exports are also defined as the trade balance of the country. Imports deduct from GDP and exports add to the figure. Since the early 1980s, the U. S. has consistently experienced a trade balance deficit, i.e. net imports with imports exceeding exports.
Related Indicators: International Trade; the Current Account is equal to the net exports plus Net Factor Income from Abroad.

Source: Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis,. NIPA dataset.

Frequency: Quarterly, revised monthly. The consumption for a given quarter is released together with the GDP figures  in the first month following a quarter as the "advance estimate". The "preliminary estimate" is published in the second month, followed by the "revised" estimate in the third month.

Availability: Three to four weeks following the reported quarter
Direction: Counter-cyclical as the trade balance tends to improve in recessions and worsen in periods of high growth

Timing: Coincident indicator

Volatility: Medium/Low

Likely Impact on Financial Markets:

Ability to affect markets: Modest. Other components of the GDP report are stronger market movers.
Analysis of the Indicator: The trade balance, or the related concept of the current account, can be seen in two ways: either as equal to the difference between exports and imports of goods and services; or, as approximately equal to the difference between national savings and national investment. While a worsening of the trade balance is traditionally considered as a sign of competitiveness loss for the country, it may actually signal a strong economy where national investment is growing faster than national savings. In this sense, a worsening of the trade balance/current account may be good new about the economy.

WEB Links

See the Dismal Scientist Homepage for charts, tables and analysis of the latest report.

Graphs of the latest net exports data from The Economic Statistics Briefing Room of the White House

A table with the most recent Net Exports and GDP data from the BEA

The latest GDP report from BEA includes an analysis of net exports trends in the latest quarter

You can chart net export, exports and imports and other NIPA data from the NIPA VISUALIZATION PAGE

You can see net exports, exports and imports charts with theEconomic Chart Dispenser

You can create customized net exports charts with the Economic Chart Maker  Tip: type "EXPORTS" in the Label section of the form and choose the transformation of the data you are interested in.

An analysis of the 1997-Q-3 GDP report from First Union

An Analysis of the 1997-Q3 GDP report from Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach
An Analysis of the 1997-Q2 GDP report from Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach