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Key Economic Trends

  • Rising global demand for minerals and metals, especially in China, drove prices to record levels through mid-2008. However, the global economic recession, credit restrictions, and the sharp fall of global prices of most minerals and metals resulted in reduced U.S. imports in late 2008. As a result, the U.S. trade deficit for this sector declined by $8.8 billion (12 percent).
  • Governments worldwide began implementing economic stimulus packages in late 2008. However, the deterioration of the minerals and metals markets continued, depressing global trade. Additionally, China's demand-and-supply dynamics in the minerals and metals markets continue to exert a strong effect on the U.S. trade balance through global market prices.
  • Sharp rises in energy prices in the first half of 2008 stimulated oil and gas exploration activities, which resulted in increased U.S. imports of associated products, such as line pipe and oil country tubular goods. Imports of pipes and tubes of carbon and alloy steels from China and India increased by $1.7 billion and $399 million, respectively. In late 2008, falling energy prices rendered these projects unprofitable, and energy companies began delaying or cancelling exploration activities, resulting in the sharp curtailing of global trade of energy-related equipment.

Trade Shifts in 2008 from 2007

  • U.S. trade deficit: Decreased by $8.7 billion (12 percent) to $65.2 billion
  • U.S. exports: Increased by $19.5 billion (19 percent) to $119.8 billion
  • U.S. imports: Increased by $10.8 billion (6 percent) to $185.0 billion

Selected Product Shifts

USITC Publications

Other Government Resources

U.S. Geological Survey