In September, seven of the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods had expanding manufacturing sectors, up from six in August and just one (China) in May. As such, these major trading partners have continued to improve after plummeting in April to levels that were either the worst since the Great Recession or at record lows.
The World Trade Organization predicts that global trade volumes could fall 9.2% in 2020, an improvement from the previous estimate of a 12.9% decrease this year. WTO predicts that global trade should rebound, rising by 7.2% in 2021.
The U.S. trade deficit rose to the highest level since August 2006, with goods imports rising faster than the increase in goods exports. The goods trade deficit rose to a new record. At the same time, the service-sector trade surplus dropped to its lowest level since January 2012.
In non-seasonally adjusted data, U.S.-manufactured goods exports totaled $622.72 billion through the first eight months of 2020, dropping 17.31% from $753.07 billion for the same time frame in 2019.
Other highlights include the following:
In the latest survey from China, manufacturing new orders expanded at the fastest pace since January 2011, with exports increasing at the best rate since August 2017. Overall, industrial production grew 5.6% year-over-year, the best pace since December and a major improvement from the decline of 13.5% year-over-year seen in January/February.
Industrial production experienced strong gains in the Eurozone and the United Kingdom in July, building on gains seen in May and June. The same was true in Canada regarding manufacturing sales. Yet, in each case—much like the United States—activity in the sector remained well below what was seen in February before the recession began.
Among the top 10 markets for U.S.-manufactured goods, Brazil had the highest manufacturing PMI in September once again, hitting a new record high. Mexico continued to have the lowest manufacturing PMI, despite progress in recent months.
The IHS Markit Emerging Markets Manufacturing PMI expanded for the third straight month to its fastest pace since April 2011.
Manufacturers continue to advance efforts with the administration and Congress to open markets, ensure trade certainty and address challenges overseas, including the following:
Asserting the importance of comprehensive U.S. trade agreements that open markets and set high standards
Monitoring the U.S.–China security, trade and economic relationship
Calling for a one-year delay in the implementation of the European Union’s proposed database on substances of concern in certain products
Leading industry advocacy in support of congressional passage of a comprehensive Miscellaneous Tariff Bill