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What’s Driving the Recent Slump in U.S. imports?

Mary Amiti, Tyler Bodine-Smith, Colin Hottman and Logan Lewis ()

No 20161107, Liberty Street Economics from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: The growth in U.S. imports of goods has been stubbornly low since the second quarter of 2015, with an average annual growth rate of 0.7 percent. Growth has been even weaker for non-oil imports, which have increased at an average annual rate of only 0.1 percent. This is in sharp contrast to the pattern in the five quarters preceding the second quarter of 2015, when real non-oil imports were growing at an annualized rate of 8 percent per quarter. The timing of the weakness in import growth is particularly puzzling in light of the strong U.S. dollar, which appreciated 12 percent in 2015, lowering the price of imported goods relative to domestically produced goods. The trajectory for imports can affect the variety of goods consumed in the United States and could, if it is evolving independently, have implications for overall economic growth. To understand the consequences of lower import growth, it is important to understand what is behind this recent trend. In this blog post, we explore what has been driving the recent slump in U.S. imports of non-oil goods.

Keywords: Imports; exchange rate; appreciation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-11-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-int
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