Overall imports declined by more than exports for a change during the month of September, but while that may please Trump, it probably won't please specific industries that saw their exports fall off a cliff.
According to the Commerce Department, the agricultural and auto industries saw their exports crater last month.
Exports declined 3% from a year earlier to $135.9 billion, the lowest in more than a year and a half, while imports were down 4.6% to a nearly two-year low of $206.3 billion.
Shipments of foods, feeds and beverages tumbled 12.6% from the prior month, and exports of vehicles dropped 7.2%. Imports of consumer goods were down 5%. [...]
Before Monday’s report, economists had forecast that the government’s first estimate for third-quarter gross domestic product due Wednesday will slow to a 1.6% annualized pace from 2% in the prior quarter.
It was expected that the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) strike at General Motors would hit the auto industry, but the same cannot be said for the agricultural industry which saw exports decline by almost 13 percent.
Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever" may or may not begin to reverse this trend depending on Chinese consumer demand and market conditions, but China is not currently pledging to buy anything more than soybeans.
Chinese purchases will depend on the availability of waivers from the nation's retaliatory tariffs on American goods as everything we currently know about Trump's "deal" is that all tariffs currently on the books will remain in place.
In short, we can probably expect to see more of the same trade-related weakness for the foreseeable future.