US Trade Gap Narrows, Jobless Claims Fall


The US 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 US, has declined by -12k to a seasonally adjusted +260k in the week ended Sept. 30.

The market had expected +270k new claims last week. Claims did surge in recent weeks due to job losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.