Consumer goods led an $8.4 billion surge in imports in November, sending the U.S. trade deficit to $48.7 billion, up from a revised $42.1 billion in October, the Commerce Department reported.
Total November exports were $182.6 billion, while imports were $231.3 billion. The goods deficit increased $6.6 billion from October to November. The services surplus was $17 billion, showing little change from October.
Record monthly trade deficits in manufacturing ($66.03 billion) and high tech products, said U.S. Business and Industry Council Research Fellow Alan Tonelson, “expose as wishful thinking widespread claims by President Obama and others that U.S. manufacturing is staging an historic comeback.”
“U.S. manufacturing exports in November fell 2.86% on a monthly basis, from $85.95 billion to $83.47 billion. Industrial imports fell, too, but at less than half that rate – from $151.28 billion to $149.52 billion (1.17%),” said Tonelson. “As a result, the January-November manufacturing deficit is now running 7.67% ahead of 2011 levels. The total manufacturing trade gap this year of $633.76 billion also represents a new 11-month record – with the previous all-time high coming in 2011.”
Martin Schwerdtfeger, senior economist with TD Economics, said the trade deficit had likely subtracted 0.7% from overall GDP during the fourth quarter, but gains in household consumption would offset the drag on growth.
The October to November increase in imports of goods was led by consumer goods ($4.6 billion); automotive vehicles, parts and engines ($1.5 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($1.3 billion); foods, feeds and beverages ($0.6 billion); capital goods ($0.4 billion); and other goods ($0.1 billion).
Export increases from October to November included capital goods ($0.9 billion); automotive vehicles, parts and engines ($0.7 billion); industrial supplies and materials ($0.6 billion); and consumer goods ($0.1 billion).
The trade gap in advanced technology also widened, as exports of $26 billion in November were little changed from October but imports increased $1.7 billion to a total of $36.1 billion.
Deficits recorded with other nations included China ($29 billion), the European Union ($12.2 billion), OPEC ($6.6 billion) and Germany ($6.2 billion). The U.S. had surpluses with Hong Kong ($3.0 billion), Australia ($1.8 billion) and Singapore ($1.1 billion).