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Analysts at Wells Fargo, point out that statistical payback contributed to the sharp increase in the trade deficit in December. They see that sluggish growth in the rest of the world is weighing on US export growth.

Key Quotes:  

“The U.S trade deficit shot up from $50.3 billion in November to $59.8 billion in December, the largest deficit in 10 years.”

“The increase in the red ink in the nation’s trade accounts represents statistical payback, at least in part, for the marked narrowing that had occurred in the previous month. Specifically, the trade deficit narrowed $6.0 billion in November.”

“Preliminary data indicated that net exports sliced 0.2 percentage point from real GDP growth in Q4. These revised trade data show that the headwinds to GDP growth from trade likely increased to 0.3 percentage point.”