The Trade Deficit decreased by $2.6 billion to of $37.3 billion in January, beating the expected increase to $40.7 billion, from a revised figure of $39.9 billion for December. January exports decreased by $0.5 billion to $142.7 billion, offset by imports, which decreased significantly more, by $3.1 billion to $180.0 billion. Crude oil imports, which fell to an eleven-year low of 245.27 million barrels from 277.07million the month before, contributed significantly to the decline in the deficit. The Commerce Department provided the January figures of the trade balance of the U.S. relative to selected trading partners, in billions of dollars, with surpluses in Hong Kong ($1.6), Australia ($0.9), and Belgium ($0.3). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($18.3), OPEC ($7.2), the European Union ($2.8), Mexico ($4.6), Japan ($3.3), Canada ($3.9), Venezuela ($1.6), Nigeria ($2.1), Ireland ($1.6), and Germany ($1.1).
Initial Claims decreased to 462,000, for the week ending 03/06, beating the expected decrease to 464,000, after decreasing to 468,000, the revised level for the previous week. The 4-week moving average increased to 475,500, from the previous week’s revised average of 470,500. Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment from the prior week, ending on 02/27, was 4,558,000, an increase of 37,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,521,000. Seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate from the week ending on 02/27, was 3.5%, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 3.5%.
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