US trade deficit drops to 388 billion in March as flow of

by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted May 2, 2013 8:36 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US trade deficit drops to $38.8 billion in March as flow of crude oil falls to 17-year low WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March for a second month as the daily flow of imported crude oil dropped to the lowest level in 17 years. The deficit with China hit a three-year low.The overall trade deficit decreased to $38.8 billion, an 11 per cent drop from February’s $43.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.Exports fell 0.9 per cent to $184.3 billion as sales of machinery, autos and farm products all declined. Imports fell 2.8 per cent to $223.1 billion, led by a 4.4 per cent drop in foreign petroleum. Crude oil imports averaged just 7 million barrels per day, the lowest since March 1996.A smaller trade gap can boost overall economic growth as American companies earn more from overseas sales while U.S. consumers and businesses spend less on foreign products.For the first three months of this year, the trade deficit is running at an annual rate of $507.7 billion, 5.9 per cent below last year’s deficit of $539.5 billion. Economists are looking for the deficit to narrow slightly this year, in part because they expect continued gains in U.S. exports.Analysts said the lower-than-expected deficit in March will likely give a slight boost to overall economic growth for the January-March quarter. The government’s first estimate put economic growth at 2.5 per cent in the first quarter but some analysts said that could be revised up to perhaps 2.7 per cent because of the lower trade deficit in March.The politically sensitive deficit with China shrank 23.6 per cent in March to $17.9 billion, still far above the imbalance with any other country.Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said there was a good chance the big drop in the deficit with China would be reversed in April because much of the improvement reflected the disruption of shipments of Chinese goods to the United States over the Lunar New Year holiday in China.The deficit with the European Union grew 13 per cent in March to $9.9 billion even though U.S. exports to the region rose 14.4 per cent. But for the year, U.S. exports to Europe are down 8 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, reflecting the impact of a recession in the 17 European Union countries that use the euro.The European Central Bank announced Thursday that it was cutting its benchmark interest rate to a new record low in an effort to stimulate growth in the 17 European countries that use the euro currency.The Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday that its index of U.S. manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in April, held back by weaker hiring and less company stockpiling. That raised worries that overall economic growth may slow this spring.The manufacturing index slipped to 50.7 in April. That’s down from 51.3 in March and the slowest pace this year. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. A measure of export orders in the ISM survey grew at a slower pace in April.Exports of industrial machinery, telecommunications equipment, computers, autos and farm products such as soybeans were all down in March although sales of civilian aircraft were up.Imports of foreign-made autos dropped by $771 million in March and imports of toys and games were down $1 billion.The U.S. economy is being hurt this year by tax hikes and spending reductions designed to curb huge federal budget deficits.The Federal Reserve at its meeting Wednesday stood by its aggressive efforts to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment and held out the possibility that it is prepared to do more if growth doesn’t rebound from the current soft patch which the central bank blamed in part on the government’s tax increases and spending cuts to curb the deficit.Many economists believe if the government’s across the board spending cuts, known as a sequester, are not lifted, growth in the current April-June quarter and the rest of this year will come at a lacklustre 2 per cent or less. read more

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First direct verification of carbon dioxide successfully sequestered in underground rock

first_imgThe test involves injecting over 13,000 t of carbon dioxide into stacked unmineable coal seams at depths of 900 to 2,000 ft with the goal of storing carbon dioxide while simultaneously enhancing natural gas recovery. “Carbon sequestration in geologic formations is our best way to slow and reverse climate change,” said John M Pope, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of WellDog. “But understanding how, where and for how long sequestration occurs in rocks thousands of feet below ground is difficult.”“In this project the carbon dioxide flowed into the wellbore, but until we took direct downhole measurements in each coal seam, significant uncertainty persisted regarding which coal seams the carbon dioxide had sequestered,” explained Pope. “We are pleased that WellDog’s technical services and Carbon GeoCycle’s sequestration expertise were able to help Virginia Tech’s experts confirm that all of the coal seams took up carbon dioxide. This result represents an important step for sequestration efforts worldwide.”“Results from the test are very promising,” said Nino Ripepi, PhD, Associate Professor of mining and minerals engineering at Virginia Tech and a manager of the project. “We have shown that coal seams can safely store carbon dioxide while at the same time enhancing gas. This is one of the first steps toward commercialisation of these technologies.” WellDog, Virginia Tech and Carbon GeoCycle have announced that they have collaborated to deliver the world’s first successful direct verification of carbon dioxide sequestered in an underground rock. The verification, made using WellDog’s proprietary Reservoir Raman System, reveals that carbon dioxide injected over the last two years successfully flowed into all of the targeted coal seams. The $15.5 million sequestration project is located in Buchanan County, Virginia.  The project is funded by the US Department of Energy, Virginia Tech, and private industry.last_img read more

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