The November U.S. trade deficit widened sharply and this will likely prompt economists to cut estimates of Q4 GDP. The first estimate is to be released at the end of the month. The pace of growth had appeared to be about half the pace of the 3.1% rate seen in Q3. Today's report risks even slower growth. The real deficit, which adjusts for prices, widened to almost $52 bln from $46 bln.
Exports increased by 1%, led by autos, parts and telecom equipment. Imports jumped 3.8%, the most in seven months. Ironically it may seem, imports of autos and auto parts rose by $1.5 bln and cell phone imports rose $1.8 bln. These two sectors accounted for about a third of dollar rise in imports.
The data may have been skewed by the port disruptions caused by both the labor dispute and super storm Sandy.
The euro had already broken above the $1.33 cap before the worse than expected trade figures were released. Stop loss buying saw the euro move to a high just above $1.3350. The consolidative tone in Asia and Europe ended abruptly with the return of North American participants. The next important objective is near $1.35. Sterling recovered from decline seen after the disappointing industrial production figures out earlier, but like most other currencies, cannot keep pace with the flows into the euro.
Separately, Canada reported a trade deficit 3x greater than the market expected at C$1.96 bln and the Oct deficit was revised to show a C$0.55 bln deficit instead of a C$0.17 bln deficit. This also does not bode well for Canada's Q4 GDP. Nevertheless, the Canadian dollar is the best performing within the dollar-bloc today. Typically, in a soft US dollar environment, the Canadian dollar lags behind the other majors.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.