The effect of Covid-19 on the trade balance of American products – Quartz


U.S. trade plunged in March as the country adopted emergency measures and trade activity slowed. The nation bought 6.5% less merchandise than a year ago and sold 9.2% less to other countries during the same period. The sharp drop did not affect all products in the same way. Some items were in such demand abroad that the United States became a net exporter. Some have become so necessary in the United States that the country has become a net importer.

Quartz analyzed U.S. trade data in March and identified products that have shifted between deficit and surplus.

Which products went from a surplus to a deficit in March?

An increase in US domestic demand or a decrease in international purchases can shift a product from a surplus to a deficit.

Antibiotics have gone from a surplus of $ 19 million to a deficit of $ 22 million. A drop in exports to China prompted the change. China is generally a net exporter of antibiotics to the United States.

Gold was a very popular commodity. The United States imported $ 3.1 billion of non-monetary gold in March, a significant jump from February’s $ 770 million, which reversed the trade balance.

Which products went from a deficit to a surplus in March?

Lower domestic need or higher international demand can shift a good from a net import to a net export.

The United States sold an increasing amount of specific types of drugs containing antigens or hyaluronic acid to European countries in March, causing a shift in the trade balance. Net exports to the UK and the Netherlands increased by more than 200% from February’s amount.

With large gatherings canceled, the United States imported far fewer fireworks in March. U.S. imports from China fell from $ 25.2 million to $ 2.1 million, pushing the trade balance of fireworks, rain flares and flares from a deficit of 18 million of dollars to a surplus of $ 6 million. Most of the US exports in this category are not fireworks.

The United States has been an importer of paper products for households and hospitals in every month of the past year. That changed in March. Net imports of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and sanitary napkins from China fell by about half of February’s volume, likely due to plant closures and growing demand in this area. country. The United States has also exported more of these products to some countries such as Japan and Taiwan.

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