A worker gestures as a crane lifts goods for export onto a cargo vessel at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China February 13, 2019.
January’s international trade data could show the U.S. trade gap was again affected by trade friction and tariffs when it is reported Wednesday morning, economists said.
The U.S. trade deficit is expected to expand by $57.4 billion, slightly less than the 10-year high of $59.8 billion it reached in December. That month, U.S. exports declined by 1.9 percent, to $205.1 billion, while imports rose by 2.1 percent, to $264.9 billion.
The U.S. deficit with China rose by $3.2 billion in December, reaching a record $38.7 billion. Exports rose slightly, by $0.4 billion, to $7.7 billion, and imports were up $3.6 billion, to $46.4 billion.
Natixis economist Joseph LaVorgna said the effect of tariffs could create distortions in the data, just as they did with U.S. soybean exports last year. “I would pay more attention to the broader trends,” he said.
Trade data is released at 8:30 a.m. ET, and current account data is issued at 10 a.m.
ECB Watchers Bid Farewell to Super Mario
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi presides over his final annual ECB and its Watchers conference, before his term ends in October. Draghi was to speak at 4 a.m. ET. The Frankfurt conference is the twentieth such event and is expected to attract more than 400 ECB ‘watchers’ from Europe, Asia and North America.
As for the Fed, Kansas City Fed President Esther George speaks before the Money Marketeers of New York University at 7 p.m. ET and will discuss the economy and economic policy.