As a result of lower prices for imported crude oil, the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services with the rest of the world fell to $58.9 billion in October, $5.4 billion less than September's revised deficit of $64.3 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Dec. 12.
Imports in October, the most recent month for which the department has released data, totaled $182.5 billion. U.S. exports for the month totaled $123.6 billion.
For the first 10 months of 2006, the U.S. trade deficit was $643.4 billion, $54.8 billion more than the $588.6 deficit recorded during the first 10 months of 2005.
The U.S. continues to run its largest single-country trade deficit with China. In October, the deficit increased to $24.4 billion, a $1.5 billion increase from a deficit of $22.9 billion in September. For the first 10 months of 2006, the U.S. trade deficit with China amounted to $190.6 billion.
"Since December 2001, the U.S. monthly trade deficit has increased $32.3 billion. This has saddled the economy with a huge foreign debt and slowed growth, and Bush administration policies have exacerbated these problems," asserted Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business in College Park. "Petroleum, automotive products and goods from China account for nearly 95% of the trade deficit, and no solution is possible without addressing issues particular to these segments," said Morici.