Hit by higher energy prices and hurricane-related port problems, the U.S. goods and services trade deficit with the rest of the world deepened to $66.1 billion in September, the most recent month for which data are available, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Nov. 10. The record monthly deficit was far worse than the $61 billion deficit that economists generally expected for September and $6.8 billion more than the revised $59.3 billion trade deficit in August.
U.S. exports valued at $105.2 billion in September were more than offset by imports totaling $171.3 billion.
For the first nine months of 2005, the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world was $529.8 billion.
In September the U.S. trade deficit with China was $20.1 billion, the largest deficit with any single country. For the first nine months of 2005, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $146.3 billion.
"In large measure, the [overall U.S.] trade deficit remains stubbornly high because the overvalued [U.S.] dollar pushes up imports of inexpensive manufactures and handicaps U.S. exports of durable goods and high-end services -- and this situation is likely to become worse in the fourth quarter [of 2005] and in 2006," says Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business in College Park.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department reported that its import price index for October declined three-tenths of a percentage point on falling oil prices. The index had climbed 2.3% in September. The department's export price index rose six-tenths of a percent in October, two-tenths of a point less than the eight-tenths advance in September.