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Monthly US Trade Deficit Reaches Highest Point Since 2006

Oct. 7, 2020
The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau reported that the trade deficit climbed to $67.1 billion in August.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported October 6 that the U.S. goods and services deficit reached $67.1 billion after increasing $3.7 billion, an increase of 5.9%, in August. It’s the highest monthly deficit recorded since 2006.

The latest data show that the United States imported and exported more goods in August than it did the month before: Imports grew by 3.2% while exports grew 2.2%. In all, the U.S. imported $7.4 billion more in August than in July as it exported $3.6 billion more goods than the previous month.

In total, the U.S. imported $239.0 billion worth of goods and exported $171.9 billion, leading to a monthly trade deficit that has grown by $22.6 billion since August 2019, a reversal of when February 2019 showed the trade deficit falling for the first time in six years, driven in large part by President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports.

Exports of industrial supplies and materials increased by $3.9 billion. Exports of foods, feeds and beverages as a category increased by $1.1 billion, and exports of soybeans specifically rose by $1.0 billion. Capital goods exports fell by $1.4 billion and semiconductor exports slid $1.2 billion.

The U.S. imported $3.8 billion more in consumer goods in August than in July. Imports of automotive vehicles, parts and engines rose by $1.7 billion, with passenger cars accounting for $1 billion of the increase. Imports of industrial supplies and materials fell $1.5 billion.

Internationally, the United States’ trade deficit with China decreased by $1.9 billion to $26.4 billion. New exports to China drove the closing gap in August as U.S. exports increased by $1.7 billion to $11.2 billion and imports fell by less than a billion dollars from $37.9 billion to $37.7 billion.

The United States’ trade deficit with China is still its highest, followed by the U.S. trade deficits with the European Union (-$15.7 billion), Mexico (-$12.5 billion), Germany (-$4.6 billion), Japan (-$4.3), Italy (-$2.6), Taiwan (-$2.6), India (-$2.3), France (-$2.2), South Korea (-$2.2), and Canada (-$1.2).

The U.S. also has trade surpluses of at least a billion dollars with South and Central America, where the U.S. has a trade surplus of $2.4 billion, Hong Kong ($1.7 billion), OPEC ($1.3 billion), Brazil, and the U.K. 

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