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Merchandise Trade Deficit Largest Trade Deficit on Record

Today’s rally had to overlook the bad news that came out today. I was watching CNBC this morning just before the news was announced and the anchor said, “We’ve got a lot of news coming out at 8:30 and I am going to go over the news items in order of importance. The first news item was the Durable Goods numbers (+0.8%), and then they went over the weekly jobless claims (202,000) and wholesale inventories (+1%). That was it. That was all they reported.  They left out the most important number that came out at 8:30, which was the Merchandise Trade Deficit ($26 billion – largest trade deficit on record). But as far as CNBC is concerned, the trade deficit is immaterial. It doesn’t even matter what the trade deficit is. In a way, they are right. because the markets couldn’t give a damn.

People Don’t Recognize that the Trade Deficit is a Bad Thing

At one point in time, the trade deficit was the most important number that came out every month.  It was more important than the Non-Farm Payroll number. That’s when people were smart enough to recognize that a trade deficit is actually a bad thing. But Donald Trump has made the trade deficit a big part of his Presidency. It was a big part of his campaign. You would think that maybe CNBC would consider the trade deficit important enough to even mention. If they were presenting the numbers in order of importance, at least mention it 4th, but they don’t even mention it at all.  That’s how unimportant the trade deficit is.

Durable Goods Up Only Because of Defense Spending

But the Durable Goods number that came out (+0.8%) was reported as a good number because it was a beat.  They were looking for -.5%. But the main reason that the headline beat was because of military orders – defense spending: aircraft.  But if you take all that stuff out and you just looked at core capital goods, they were looking at an increase of .5% and we got a decrease of .1%. So the only reason the number went up is because the U.S. government took on more debt to buy more military equipment.