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Current year-to-date ( YTD ) data is through December 2018.

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Trade Snapshot

U.S. trade increases 8.15 percent through December

U.S. trade with the world rose to $4.21 trillion in 2018, according to a WorldCity analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

That’s an 8.15 percent increase over the previous year. The nation’s exports climbed 7.59 percent to $2 trillion and imports climbed 8.53 percent to $3 trillion. The overall trade deficit was $879 billion up compared to the same period last year, when the deficit was $796 billion.

Through December, the nation’s top trade partners were No. 1 China, No. 2 Canada, No. 3 Mexico, No. 4 Japan and No. 5 Germany. The previous year, the top five spots were held by No. 1 China, No. 2 Canada, No. 3 Mexico, No. 4 Japan and No. 5 Germany, respectively.

Taking a closer look at the leading U.S. trade partners:

  • No. 1 China’s trade rose 3.75 percent to $660 billion. Exports fell 7.69 percent to $120 billion. Imports rose 6.71 percent to $540 billion.
  • No. 2 Canada’s trade rose 5.97 percent to $617 billion. Exports rose 5.75 percent to $299 billion. Imports rose 6.17 percent to $318 billion.
  • No. 3 Mexico’s trade rose 9.78 percent to $612 billion. Exports rose 9.06 percent to $265 billion. Imports rose 10.34 percent to $347 billion.
  • No. 4 Japan’s trade rose 6.52 percent to $218 billion. Exports rose 10.74 percent to $75 billion. Imports rose 4.43 percent to $143 billion.
  • No. 5 Germany’s trade rose 7.19 percent to $184 billion. Exports rose 7.78 percent to $58 billion. Imports rose 6.93 percent to $126 billion.

The nation’s top five trading partners through December accounted for 45.57 percent of its trade with the world.

The U.S. had trade surpluses with 132 countries and deficits with 101 through December. That compares with 129 surpluses and 104 deficits for the same period one year earlier. The top three surpluses through December of this year were with Hong Kong, $31 billion; The Netherlands, $25 billion; Australia, $15 billion. The top three deficits were with China, $419 billion; Mexico, $82 billion; and Germany, $68 billion.

The nation’s top five exports by value through December were civilian aircraft, parts; gasoline, other fuels; motor vehicles for transporting people; oil; and motor vehicle parts, in that order. Those accounted for 22.16 percent of its total outbound trade.

The value of the nation’s top five imports through December were motor vehicles for transporting people; oil; cell phones, related equipment; computers; and returned exports, without change. They accounted for 23.98 percent of all inbound shipments.

Looking more closely at U.S. exports:

  • No. 1 Civilian aircraft, parts rose 7.65 percent compared to last year, to $130 billion.
  • No. 2 Gasoline, other fuels rose 21.04 percent compared to last year, to $94 billion.
  • No. 3 Motor vehicles for transporting people fell 3.99 percent compared to last year, to $51 billion.
  • No. 4 Oil rose 100 percent compared to last year, to $47 billion.
  • No. 5 Motor vehicle parts rose 1.31 percent compared to last year, to $46 billion.

On the import side:

  • No. 1 Motor vehicles for transporting people fell 1.24 percent compared to last year, to $175 billion.
  • No. 2 Oil rose 18.36 percent compared to last year, to $157 billion.
  • No. 3 Cell phones, related equipment fell 2.33 percent compared to last year, to $109 billion.
  • No. 4 Computers rose 10.28 percent compared to last year, to $93 billion.
  • No. 5 Returned exports, without change rose 13.45 percent compared to last year, to $75 billion.