- Importance (A-F): This release merits a C+.
- Source: The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the
Department of Commerce.
- Release Time: 8:30 ET around the 20th of the month (data for two
- Raw Data Available At: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www/press.html
The trade report is most widely watched for trends in the overall trade
balance. But trends in both exports and imports of goods and services bear
watching as well. The export data in particular are important to watch for
indications that a strengthening competitive position at home and/or
strengthening economies overseas are boosting U.S. growth. Imports provide an
indication of domestic demand, but given the severe lag of this report relative
to other consumption indicators, it is not particularly valuable for this
The volatility in the monthly trade balance can play an important role in GDP
forecasts. Net exports are a relatively volatile component of GDP, and the trade
report provides the only early clues to the net export performance each