U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Reaches Record High

By John S. McClenahen Confounding economists who were looking for some shrinkage, the monthly U.S. international trade deficit in goods and services grew to a record $60.297 billion in November 2004, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Jan. 12. The November numbers are the most recent trade data available. On a seasonally adjusted basis, total U.S. exports of $95.551 billion in November were more than offset by imports worth $155.848 billion. U.S. goods exports fell to $66.546 billion in November from $69.180 billion in October while imports of goods rose to $130.675 billion in November from $129.294 billion in October, resulting in a goods trade deficit of $64.129 billion. In contrast, the U.S. exported services worth $3.832 billion more than those it imported in November. For the first 11 months of 2004, the U.S. trade deficit totaled $561.331 billion, some $108.828 billion higher than the total for the first 11 months of 2003 and $64.823 billion higher than the total U.S. trade deficit for all of 2003. In November of 2004, the $16.631 billion trade deficit with China was the largest the U.S. ran with any other nation. For the first 11 months of 2004, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $147.714 billion.

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