Total exports were up 3.4% to $42.7 billion in July, with 9 of 11 sections reporting gains. Contributing to the overall increase were higher exports of motor vehicles and parts; metal and non-metallic mineral products; aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts; and industrial machinery, equipment and parts. Excluding energy products, exports were up 4.1 percent, the strongest increase since December 2015. However, on a year-over-year basis, total exports were down 7 percent.
Following five consecutive monthly decreases, exports of motor vehicles and parts increased 6.2 percent. The main contributor was passenger cars and light trucks, up 7.9 percent, the highest level since February 2016. Shorter seasonal shutdowns in July at some Canadian automobile manufacturing plants contributed to the increase in the month. For the section as whole, volumes rose 5.3 percent and prices were up 0.8 percent. Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products, up 9.7 percent. Widespread increases throughout the section were led by unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys, up 19.2 percent. Higher exports of unwrought gold to the United Kingdom were mainly responsible for the gain. Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts rose 9.6 percent, the fifth increase in six months. Exports of aircraft led the increase, up 23.3 percent, the highest level since December 2015. Sales of industrial machinery, equipment and parts rose 6 percnet. There were higher exports of other general-purpose machinery and equipment (+8.4 percent) and agricultural, lawn and garden machinery and equipment (+39.6 percent).
Total imports edged down 0.1% to $45.2 billion in July, despite gains in 6 of 11 sections. Lower imports of consumer goods; motor vehicles and parts; and electronic and electrical equipment and parts were partially offset by higher imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals. Year over year, total imports decreased 2.6 percent.
Imports of consumer goods decreased 2 percnet, the lowest level since July 2015. There were lower imports of clothing, footwear and accessories (-3.4 percent); pharmaceutical and medicinal products (-3.3 percent); and miscellaneous goods and supplies (-2.1 percent). Following a record monthly high in June, imports of motor vehicles and parts fell 1.7 percent. After reporting seven consecutive increases, imports of passenger cars and light trucks decreased 3.5 percent. Also contributing to the overall decrease were imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts, down 2.6 percent. Widespread decreases throughout the section were led by electronic and electrical parts (-7.6 percent) and electrical components (-4.5%). Partially offsetting these decreases, imports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals were up 21.1 percent. There were higher imports of other metal ores and concentrates, up 23 percent. Higher imports of precious metal ores from the Dominican Republic were primarily responsible for the increase.