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U.S. Imports, Exports Jump 20% To Shatter 2021 Records – Forbes

The price of a barrel of oil is a major factor in record overall export and imports thus far in … [+] 2022.
U.S. trade is up more than 20% over the 2021 record pace, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday.
Exports nearly topped $300 billion in the first two months of the year for the first time, ending at $298.03 billion. Imports passed $400 billion through February for the first time — and nearly topped $500 billion to boot, increasing $83.93 billion over the 2021 record to $482.55 billion.
Total trade topped $700 billion for the first time, hitting $780.59 billion, a 20.05% increase. The trade deficit totaled a record $184.52 billion.
The value of U.S. oil imports jumped 84.24%, four times faster than the national average, as the price of a barrel of oil surged on global markets in response to a tamer Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other factors. It was the No. 1 ranked import through February for the first time since 2014, with a value of $26.56 billion.
Imports of natural gas, almost all of it from Canada, as well as LNG and other petroleum gases also jumped at four times the national average while imports of refined petroleum grew at twice the nation average. Those two ranked 15th and eighth among U.S. imports. Refined petroleum topped $10 billion for the first time, ending at $10.49 billion, while the natural gas category hit $4.66 billion.
On the export side, these three were top three. This year, gasoline and other refined petroleum products ranked first for the first time, at $16.24 billion. The value increased three times faster than overall imports, which increased 18.47%.
Last year at this time, the top-ranked export by value was natural gas, LNG and other petroleum gases. Through February of this year, the category ranks third with a value of $13.32 billion.
Ranking second was oil, the value increasing four times faster than the national average to $14.97 billion.
The United States is a net exporter of refined petroleum products like gasoline and gaseous hydrocarbons like natural gas. Although the United States remains a net importer of oil, that gap has narrowed considerably in recent years. Today, exports are worth 56% of the value of imports.
The United States top three trade partners are no surprise — only the order changes. This year, Mexico ranked first for the fourth year in a row, though it has finished the year in first only once. It ranked second for 2021. China and Canada were second and third, third and first in 2021.
The value separating them was remarkably small: Mexico, $113.19 billion; China, $113.18 billion, and Canada at $112.98 billion.
It was the third year Mexico topped $100 billion in two-way trade through the first two months of the year and the first time all three did so by February. As is customary, through three countries accounted for better than 43% of all U.S. trade.
Both Canada and China had previously cracked the $100 billion milestone, in 2013 and 2018, respectively.
But Mexico and Canada trade grew slightly more slowly than the national average of 20.05% and China trade grew only slightly more rapidly.
Faster growth came from countries like India (32%), Taiwan (31.29%), Brazil (32.83%), Spain (44.63%), Chile (41.37%), Turkey (55.54%) and Saudi Arabia (70%), though the actual dollars increases were smaller.
The nation’s top port through February was Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, besting traditional No. 1, the Port of Los Angeles.
Trade at O’Hare, which finished on top in 2021 for the first time ever, was up almost 50% faster than the national average through February. It became the first U.S. airport, seaport or border crossing to top $50 billion in trade in the first two months of a year, though some oil piped in from Canada is included in its total.
Trade grew even more at the Port of Houston than O’Hare — $13.62 billion, compared to $12.13 billion — and triple the national average. That is due, of course, to gains in energy exports and imports.
Houston ranked No. 6 among the nation’s 450-plus airports, seaports and border crossings, trailing only Chicago, Los Angeles, Port Laredo, Port of Newark and JFK International.


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