Trade data for August 2011 was a clear improvement over July – breaking (or possibly breaking) negative trend lines.
When imports grow, it is a sign of an expanding economy. Growing exports too would be a sign of an expanding global economy (or at least a sign of growing competitiveness). Overall, exports have been at record levels for the last 12 months, but imports have also been at record levels for 6 of the last 9 months. There has been a downward trend in exports (year-over-year growth) which was reversed this month. The graph below uses unadjusted data.
Econintersect is most concerned with imports as there is a clear recession link to import contraction. Here, there was a clear improvement – but it is questionable if the downward trend line was broken.
Overall the data was not recessionary – and showed continuing global demand. Imports were weakly positive – and overall not being bad is good. Econintersect’s views are slightly different than US Census as our technique for seasonal adjustment is different. Basically US Census saw a slight contraction month-over-month in both exports and imports, while Econintersect saw a slight growth month over month.