U.S. Trade Deficit Deepens More Than Expected

By John S. McClenahen For manufacturing executives worried that the U.S. is living seriously beyond its means, the U.S. international trade figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department on Dec. 14 offer little comfort. Imports of goods and services worth $153.526 billion, the highest level of 2004, swamped exports valued at $98.061 billion to produce a trade deficit of $55.464 billion, the deepest of the year and about $3.2 billion more than the $52.2 billion deficit economists generally expected. The seasonally adjusted U.S. international trade deficit for the first ten months of 2004 was $500.495 billion, higher by nearly $4 billion than the $496.508 billion U.S. international trade deficit for all of 2003. About the only bright spot for manufacturers in October of this year was that exports of U.S. goods rose to $69.352 billion, $213 million higher than September's $69.139 billion. The closely watched U.S. trade deficit with China was $16.776 billion in October, bringing the deficit with China to $131.084 billion for the first ten months of 2004.

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