When the second quarter real GDP report was published I saw that trade made a major contribution to growth — exports contributed 1.12 percentage points of the 4.1% real GDP growth. But that seemed like some sort of fluke produced by unusual conditions rather that what trend growth would generate. Moreover, the BEA estimate was based on only two months actual data and the other month was a BEA “guesstimates”. So new data was quite likely to generate large changes in reported real GDP. June data was released this morning at the same time as the unemployment report, so it did not get much attention. Real exports increased and real imports imports declined. Both moved back toward their intermediate growth trend.
The trade balance is the difference between two very large numbers so that small changes in either series can generate very large changes in the trade balance. The June real trade deficit was $ 7.9 ( B 2012 $ ) as compared to $7.7 ( B 2012$) in April and $7.5 ( B 2012 $) in May. The June trade balance is about where is was at the end of the first quarter. So when the 2nd quarter real GDP is revised the major contribution from trade is likely to be revised down significantly.