Mixed News on Trade

The Department of Commerce released trade balance numbers for January this morning, reporting that the monthly deficit jumped to $46.3 billion, up from $40.3 billion in December. Economists had been projecting a deficit of $41.5 billion. The larger than expected number may lead some economists to “lower their estimates for economic growth in the January-March quarter based on the wider deficit.”

However, buried within the dark clouds is a silver lining.  read more »


Obama Administration to Repeat Protectionist Errors of 1930s?

In a potentially ominous development, Television New Zealand reports that the Obama government has postponed free trade agreement discussions under the proposed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P4) with New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and Chile. Along with the United States, Australia, Peru and Vietnam were to have been involved in the expanded free trade area. It is reported that the postponement is related to an assessment of trade policy by the Obama administration.  read more »


In the Doldrums: Another Economic Indicator Heads South

Lost amidst headlines of bank nationalization, credit market woes, and a worldwide equities rout, was news that the Baltic Dry Index, an index seen as a measure of world trade flows and future economic activity, has been in freefall this week. A drop of 8% on Tuesday was bookended by drops of around 11% on both Monday and Wednesday.

According to the Guardian, the index is  read more »