US Trade Deficit at Widest Level in 10 years

The US trade deficit hit its widest level in a decade as the country is registering a record amount of imports and a decline in exports to China.

GAME CHANGERS
The US trade deficit hit its widest level in a decade as the country is registering a record amount of imports and a decline in exports to China.

According to the US Department of Commerce the gap between US imports and exports grew 1.7 per cent month-over-month to $55.5 billion, the most since October 2008 and the fifth straight month of deficit expansion.

America’s goods trade deficit with China, which has come into spotlight amid a trade spat between the world’s two largest economies, jumped 7.1 per cent to $43.1 billion.

In a back-and-forth exchange of new tariffs, the US has levied import duties on $250 billion of Chinese goods in a bid by President Donald Trump to convince Beijing to make economic reforms.

Mr Trump has also deployed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium. China has retaliated with tariffs on politically sensitive goods such as soyabeans, vehicles and orange juice.

US soyabean exports fell by $0.8 billion in October, while exports of civilian aircraft and foods, feeds and beverages also declined. Industrial supplies and materials exports rose $0.3 billion. Exports of services were up $0.1 billion, driven by financial and other business services.

Vehicles, pharmaceutical preparations and travel services lifted imports by 0.2 per cent to $266.5 billion, the highest on record.

Adjusted for inflation, the October trade deficit was $87.9 billion, up from $87.2 billion in the prior month.

Mr Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping reached a 90-day truce last weekend that called for the two sides to restart negotiations. Under the deal, the US will hold off on carrying out a threat to impose additional tariffs, and China agreed to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers.

Published: December 6, 2018