Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (The New York Times Lowers the Bar for Bush Yet Again)
"Lazy-Minded Evangelical Romanticism." That's Good. "Spared Major Embarrassment... by the Slightness of My Own Reputation." That's Better.

Brad Setser Unpacks the Good News on the Trade Deficig

Good news on the trade deficit:

Roubini Global Economics (RGE) Monitor: Not quite as bad as I expected (the April trade numbers) Brad Setser | Jun 09, 2006: A $63.4b trade deficit isn't small. But it is a bit smaller than the average $65b deficit of the fourth quarter. And, in all honesty, I expected a bit higher number.

The dog that didn't bark: oil

Oil imports (seasonally adjusted) rose to $23.85b in April, but I certainly expected a bit higher number. The average US oil import price was $56.8 a barrel. The import price is typically lower than the spot price. But it was well below the $70 average market price in April -- I don't think the US oil import bill has peaked.

As importantly, oil import volumes in April were quite weak....

The story on non-oil imports isn't as good. Non-oil goods imports have been around $127-128b all year -- with the exception of February. And non-oil goods exports have also been stalled around $80b. In July of 2005, non-oil imports were around $117b, and non-oil goods exports were around $73.5...