Three of the four biggest months for U.S. trade ever are the latest three months, according to my analysis of government data released Friday.
More trade occurred in March than any month in U.S. history, with May third and April fourth all-time. The Census Bureau data released Friday covers through May.
That strength is not coming from the usual suspects. This will present another data set for financial markets and economists to digest, who are still wrestling with whether inflation is picking up only short-term or more long-term.
On the import side, motor vehicles, often the leading U.S. import, are off 22.62% from pre-pandemic total registered in May of 2019. That’s $3.45 billion.
The value of crude oil, the second-ranked import, was off 21.82% from May 0f 2019. That’s equal to $2.92 billion. The value of gasoline and other refined petroleum products, the seventh-ranked import, is down $514.02 million from May of 2019.
On the export side, the category led by civilian aircraft, which had ranked first for 76 consecutive months, has ranked second to oil three of the last five months, with May totals down 43.35% in May from the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.