Here's a chart from Calculated Risk showing the US trade deficit, with and without petroleum.
The trade gap increased 0.4% to $38.8 billion from a revised $38.6 billion in July that was smaller than previously reported. The trade deficit was a bit bigger than expected because we're importing more junk from China and we didn't export as much petroleum products as expected.
In fact, Andrew Wilkinson, chief economist of Miller Tabak, calls US petroleum product exports "curiously slack" for the second month in a row. (sorry, link not available)
Here's Andrew's chart of petroleum exports and imports
What are we to make of this? I'm not surprised to see crude oil imports remain soft, but the drop in petroleum product exports disturbs me. Are our exports being crowded out by cheaper exports from Russia and the Middle East? Or is it something else?
One thing is for sure. The US is producing more oil than it has for the past 24 years ...
The Department of Energy reported yesterday that US oil production during the week ending October 18 averaged nearly 7.9 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest weekly output of crude oil in the US since March 1989, more than 24.5 years ago.
Mark Perry of the Carpe Diem blog says: "At the current pace of increases in domestic output, US oil production will likely exceed 8 million bpd next week, and is on track to surpass 9 million bpd by April 2014 and then surpass 10 million bpd by next fall."