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US Trade Gap Narrows in June on Imports Pullback

Aug. 8, 2023
While stronger than expected consumer spending has helped to boost U.S. trade, analysts have noted that this could weaken going forward.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in June on a bigger pullback in imports than exports, according to government data released on Tuesday.

The overall trade gap came in at $65.5 billion in June, down from a revised $68.3 billion figure in May, Commerce Department data showed.

This came as exports fell by $0.3 billion to $247.5 billion, while imports dropped $3.1 billion to $313.0 billion.

While stronger than expected consumer spending has helped to boost U.S. trade, analysts have noted that this could weaken going forward.

"Overall, trade flows continued to slow in the second quarter, both imports and exports," said economist Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics.

"A weaker trend could persist owing to the effects of monetary policy tightening globally, which is likely to slow demand and economic activity domestically and abroad," she added.

To rein in surging inflation, central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve have been lifting interest rates rapidly to tamp down consumer demand.

In June, imports of goods ranging from computers to industrial supplies declined, Commerce Department data showed.

The goods trade deficit with China declined to $22.8 billion, on a bigger drop in imports than exports.

"Net trade was a huge swing factor in GDP growth last year, but we see few signs of another blowout in the trade deficit this year," said economists Ian Shepherdson and Kieran Clancy of Pantheon Macroeconomics in a recent report.

Trade has been a swing factor since the COVID-19 outbreak. The U.S. trade gap widened to a record in 2022 on a surge in goods imports ranging from crude oil to consumer items such as pharmaceuticals and household products.

Copyright 2023, Agence France-Presse

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