A monthly statistic, reported by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of the Census and Bureau of Economic Analysis, that shows the trade balance of the United States. The report is watched closely to detect trends in the balance of payments, including the strength of exports. Exports are closely watched because they show how competitive U.S. goods are overseas. If the demand for U.S. goods is strong, then that provides a reason for the U.S. dollar to strengthen. The export data in the trade statistics also provide insight into what the export component to gross domestic product will look like. However, trade data is sensitive to short-term shocks because of the cyclical nature of many of the components. For instance, aircraft exports comprise a large part of exports and any delay in shipment, which commonly can happen, will affect the monthly export data.