May 12, 2006


Happy surprise as US trade deficit narrows (Daily Telegraph, 12/05/2006)

The US trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in March for a second month as exports climbed to a record and the value of petroleum imports declined.

The shortfall in goods and services trade shrank to $62bn, the smallest since August, the Commerce Department said in Washington. The price of goods imported to the US in April jumped by the most in seven months, the Labor Department said in a separate report.

Stronger European and Asian economies, along with a decline in the dollar, may spark greater demand for US exports in coming months, economists said. The smaller deficit prompted economists to raise their estimates of first-quarter economic growth, while the increase in import prices stoked concern inflation may accelerate.

Jay Feldman, an economist at Credit Suisse Holdings in New York, said: "There's been a clear pickup in exports and that reflects strength in the global economy. This will add even more to first-quarter growth." He revised his estimate to 6.2pc, from 5.8pc before the report.

Meanwhile, the sole premise of the Democrats '06 campaign is that voters will go to the polls to reverse the Bush presidency.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2006 7:32 PM

Always easy to rabble-rouse the trade deficit. Arabs! Arabs and Chinese buying up our country!

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at May 12, 2006 7:41 PM

I can give you a broad overview of the simple physical changes that are visible to anyone who cares to look. Going back a few years I noticed maga-container ships leaving China. Much smaller coming in. Now that has changed remarkably. The mega transports are coming in and many are from the US. I can walk to the small grocery near my appartment now and buy fine California wines, El Paso taco sauce, V8 vegatable juice, and many other US goods as well. Just a few years ago this was unheard of. This may sound like small change but it's very significant.

Posted by: Tom Wall at May 12, 2006 7:55 PM

I think their sole premise is that the voters will reverse what they perceive to be the Bush presidency. Right now that looks like an effective strategy.

Unless the gas prices go down, WAY DOWN and stay there for a while.... watch out.

Posted by: Pepys at May 12, 2006 8:38 PM

The Chicoms can keep their prawn-flavored cheetos and what passes as cheetos, tho.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 12, 2006 9:17 PM

To Pepys point - the polls showing Bush at 29%, 31% etc appear low (Rasmussen has Bush holding in the low 40s) but the perception is taking hold that the Bush presidency is dead walking despite all the positive news out there.

Posted by: AWW at May 12, 2006 11:58 PM

The Reagan and Clinton presidencies died too, then revived.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 12:02 AM

I'm sure the Bush presidency will revive and thrive again. However, the window for it to help in the 06 elections is darn near closed.

If the Bush presidency were a stock, I'd be buying everything I could get my hands on.

Posted by: Pepys at May 13, 2006 12:07 AM

Pepys and OJ are right. As sure as day follows night, Bush will return.

Right now, his numbers are like those polls that show that 60% of Americans "disapprove" of the war. What's not shown in that number is that one-half of that 60% disapprove of the fact that we're not going at the enemy hammer and tongs.

Same thing for Bush, a lot of those 70% who currently disapprove of him are to his right, and are thus not people who will be voting for Democrats this fall.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at May 13, 2006 1:02 AM


It's May.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 9:04 AM

Watch what Bush's enemies (and ours) do, not what they say.

Posted by: erp at May 13, 2006 9:05 AM

The trade deficit doesn't matter when it goes up and it doesn't matter when it goes down.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 13, 2006 10:57 AM

A GDP that high is just about all that matters in the voting booth.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 12:31 PM

GDP, SchmeeDP.

Filling up the tank these days is a painful experience and the voters curse Bush every time they do it.

Prices have to go down low enough and long enough for the bitterness to dissipate.

There is still time, but not much.

Posted by: Pepys at May 13, 2006 12:57 PM

After a year of prices around $3 folks would have adjusted.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 1:00 PM

--El Paso taco sauce,--

Only America could bring taco sauce to the Chicoms - our central/south A neighbors are clueless.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 13, 2006 1:14 PM

After Monday's immigration speech, when Bush doesn't call for boxcars to physically deport the 12MM, the conservative blogs will write him and the GOP off for the '06 elections.

Posted by: AWW at May 13, 2006 3:32 PM


Sure, but he's calling for troops on the border which is at 60-70% in the polls.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 5:25 PM

OJ - the right blogs are discounting the troops on the border due to "only the national guard" and "only for a year or two". The speech will supposedly call for a virtual fence which will not satisfy those that want a brick and morter fence. Bush will try and go down the middle on tnis one and it may not work.

Question - there was the whole legal ordering of the guard issue that came up after Katrina - is Bush going to skip this part to get them on the border?

Posted by: AWW at May 13, 2006 7:06 PM


Of course it isn't serious, but it is popular. I suspect the border is, by definition, federal territory.

Posted by: oj at May 13, 2006 7:10 PM