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Services Trade Balance Declines.
Dec 10, 2002

According to the latest data, the balance of services trade has declined rapidly since 2000, reversing several decades of increases. The services balance declined by $4.9 billion, or 6.6 percent, from 2000 to 2001 (full year). Over the first three quarters of 2002 compared to the same period for 2001, the balance was down again, this time by $21.5 billion, or 38.2 percent.

The 2001 data are distorted by the effects of September 11. The 2001 balance is artificially high because of the impact of September 11. Had the data for September 2001 been more in line with trends during the year, the full year services trade balance would have been closer to $57.2 billion, rather than $68.9 billion, reflecting a 22.4 percent decline from the full year 2000 services balance. Similarly, the three-quarter 2001 to three-quarter 2002 comparison would change from $44.6 billion in January-September 2001 to $34.8 billion for the same period in 2002.

The biggest reason for the drop in the positive contribution services trade makes to the overall U.S. trade balance is the decline in travel, passenger fares and other transportation services exports (people and goods visiting the United States).

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