Intangible Trade August 2022

Intangibles trade surplus continues to grow along historic trendlines

This morning’s trade date from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows an improvement in the U.S. trade deficit in August as imports declined more that exports. Imports were down by $3.7 billion from July; exports declined by a mere $0.7 billion. BEA also notes that the overall services surplus declined by $0.4 billion. However, the surplus in intangibles rose slightly with exports increasing more than imports. The difference is mainly due to an almost $0.6 billion decrease in the trade surplus in travel as American’s increased their foreign travel. [Note: I categorize travel as a tangible service.]

The trade surplus in intangibles has grown steadily since the beginning of the year. And, as the chart below shows (and as I have noted before), intangibles exports, imports and trade balance were basically on the historical trend line. This is also true for the various categories of intangibles. Even Financial Services, where the surplus rose dramatically in the first part of the pandemic due to a surge in exports, seems to have returned to the trend line.

In general, this most recent data is in line with my earlier analysis that the pandemic is not having a game-changing impact on trade in intangible.

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