The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased to $41.8 billion in September from a revised $38.7 billion in August, the Commerce Department reported today. Analysts had expected a smaller $39 billion shortfall.
Exports decreased to $188.9 billion in September from $189.3 billion in August. Imports increased to $230.7 billion in September from $228.0 billion in August, the government announced.
For the first three quarters of 2013, the trade deficit has narrowed to $359.5 billion from $407.2 billion in 2012.
Goods exports in September were $132.1 billion, a slight drop from August, while goods imports rose to $193.4 billion from $190.6 billion in August. For the first nine months of 2013, the U.S. is running a $532.7 billion deficit in the trade of goods, though trade exports have risen nearly $12 billion for the year.
Growth in manufactured goods exports “remains frustratingly slow,” Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, commented on NAM’s Shopfloor blog.
“There were $883.1 billion in manufactured goods exports through the first nine months of 2013, up only 1.5% over the $869.7 billion in the same time period in 2012,” Moutray noted. “This news continues to be disappointing, especially relative to the 5.7% growth rate experienced in all of 2012 and the 15% rate required to meet the president’s goals of doubling exports by 2015.”
The deficit in advanced technology products climbed from $5.8 billion in August to $8.1 billion in September. Advanced technology exports have grown faster than imports so far in 2013, resulting in the trade deficit through September falling to $56.2 billion from $64.1 billion for the same period in 2012.
The U.S. trade deficit with China in September increased to $30.4 billion from $29.8 billion in August. For the first nine months of 2013, the deficit with China stands at $238.1 billion.
“The manufacturing-dominated China goods deficit is now running 2.72% [ahead] of last year’s annual record level, even though President Obama and many others claim that China has recently lost considerable manufacturing competitiveness versus the United States,” said economist Alan Tonelson, a research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council.