As Expected, U.S. Trade Gap Widens

This past May's marked decrease in the U.S. international trade deficit has proven to be a one-month phenomenon. The gap between U.S. exports and imports widened to just over $58.8 billion in June, about $3.4 billion more than May's revised $55.4 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Aug. 12. Economists generally expected the trade deficit to increase in June, although they forecast a figure of about $57 billion, nearly $2 billion less than the actual deficit.

U.S. exports of goods and services were a 2005-high of $106.8 billion in June. They were more than offset, however, by imports of $165.6 billion.

For the first six months of 2005, the U.S. ran a trade deficit of $342.9 billion with the rest of the world on a seasonally adjusted basis. From January through June, the U.S. trade deficit with China was a not-seasonally-adjusted $90.1 billion, the largest with any single country. The U.S. trade deficit with all 25 nations in the European Union was $56.4 billion during the first six months of this year, and the U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico was $57.1 billion. The U.S. deficit with South and Central America was $23.3 billion.

Separately, the U.S. Labor Department reported the prices of goods the U.S. imported in July rose 1.1%. For the second consecutive month, higher prices for petroleum imports more than offset a price decrease for non-petroleum imports. On the export side of the ledger, prices for U.S. goods increased a tenth of a percent in July, following a one-tenth decline in June and a two-tenth decline in May.

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